Customer Spotlight: Science in the Wild

Climate change is transforming our planet faster than ever. Depending on your location on the globe, you may be experiencing extreme effects or none at all. Unfortunately, residents living near The Ngozumpa, one of Nepal’s largest and longest glaciers are experiencing the effects first hand.

At the start of the monsoon this past summer, one lake in particular is capable of losing enough water to fill 40 Olympic sized pools – in less than 48 hours. One can only imagine the disastrous effects these flash floods are having on local communities.

Ngozumpa glacier. Credit: Benjamin Pothier

As we learn more about the changing earth, we also develop solutions to the problems climate change brings. Analyzing areas that are highly susceptible to devastating impact allows us to better predict upcoming changes, which is massively beneficial to the people living in these regions. This past summer, Patrick Rowe, along with a team of scientists from the organization Science in the Wild, traveled to the Himalayas to do just that. SITW’s founder, Dr. Ulyana N. Horodyskyj, has been studying the glacier since 2011, collecting data to investigate how the melting masses may pose a threat to local communities.

The glacial lakes are much too dangerous to put humans on which is why Patrick designed and built an unmanned surface vessel (USV). The USV’s main function was to survey the glacial lakes using a sonar – he and other researchers are trying to understand formation, growth, depth, and composition of the lakes. Using marine robotic vehicles to gather crucial information is not only much faster and more accurate than using humans, but also much safer. Patrick needed to build a USV that was small enough to carry, but rugged enough to get the job done. Check out his USV in action – powered by T200 thrusters!

Patrick and his team with his USV – powered by T200s.

Patrick and Ulyana plan to train local engineers to use robots to analyze the changing lakes and equip them with the tools needed to protect their homes. Not only will this better prepare residents for the disastrous effects caused by the floods, but it will also create a number of jobs for the villages’ inhabitants. We look forward to seeing the efforts and progress influenced by the results of these investigations!

For more information on Science in the Wild and the effects of climate change on Himalayan villages, check out the following links!

Science in the Wild

Using Swimming Robots to Warn Villages of Himalayan Tsunamis

Are you doing something sweet with your Blue Robotics components? Tell us about it! We love seeing and sharing what our customers are doing with our products!

New Products! Moisture Indicating Silica Gel Desiccant and Aluminum End Caps

Hey everyone! We hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Festivus! We are en-closing out 2016 with a few new components for our Watertight Enclosure Series! Pun definitely intended.

Moisture Indicating Silica Gel Desiccant

First up today we’ve got Moisture Indicating Silica Gel Desiccant. We use the desiccant in our enclosures to reduce humidity caused by condensation – any moisture inside of the enclosure will cause it to fog when placed in the water. The desiccant is blue when it’s dry and turns pink when it’s not. It can be baked in an oven to recharge and dry it out if necessary. Comes with 3 nylon drawstring bags.

Aluminum End Caps for 2″, 3″, and 4″ Series Enclosures

We’re excited to add these aluminum end caps to the roster. These end caps can achieve greater depths than their clear acrylic counterparts and they’re also stronger and easier to machine. You won’t be seeing the transparent caps in our store for much longer – we’ll be phasing out the versions with holes. Do yourself a solid and snag them before they sell out! Check out the new aluminum options below:

That’s all we’ve got for today! We’ll see you in 2017! Cheers!

Customer Spotlight: RanMarine

The statistics regarding ocean trash are staggering. According to National Geographic, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, and of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface. But for one South African entrepreneur, one man’s trash is another man’s business venture.

Richard Hardiman and RanMarine have developed a solar-powered unmanned surface vessel (USV) that is capable of cleaning water surfaces with little or no human supervision. The Waste Shark scoops up debris, marine waste, and chemical substances in harbors and canals and uses sensors to communicate data regarding water quality, weather, and depth of the basin. The Waste Shark has been in development for several years, but the folks at RanMarine have had their eyes on Blue Robotics thrusters for the better part of the last year.

wateshark-2

Waste Shark at the Port of Rotterdam. Photo: RanMarine

“We were at a pretty crucial stage of our build and had a lot riding on the propulsion actually operating effectively…” Hardiman explains. “We needed simplicity but reliability without sacrificing thrust – a tall order. As it worked out the first test was perfect and the output was actually far more than we needed! We love them!”

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Waste Shark with T200s. Photo: RanMarine

Over the next 6 months, four Waste Sharks will be deployed at the Port of Rotterdam’s basins, eating up litter floating on the surface – as much as 1100 lbs at once. The USVs act in unison with each other and are operable 24/7. Check out the Waste Shark in action!

For more on RanMarine and the Waste Shark:

RanMarine

Port of Rotterdam

Popular Science

Maritime Journal

New and Updated Products! GoPro Mount, Switch, and 4″ Dome

Happy Navy Day, friends! We have a couple new products and one updated product to share with you today. Let’s get to the good stuff!

GoPro Mount

This 3D printed GoPro mount makes it easy to attach a GoPro or GoPro-compatible camera to your BlueROV2. The mount attaches to the front of the battery enclosure where it has the same view and lighting as the main camera. We’ve also made the 3D files freely available so you are welcome to print these bad boys yourself!

Switch

We’ve had quite a few requests for this product so we are especially stoked to bring you the Switch! It allows you to turn a circuit on and off inside a watertight enclosure without needing to open it! Handling up to 5A of current and 120V, you can use it to directly operate low power circuits or interact with a microcontroller to provide input for the operation of your vehicle.

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New Products! Electronics Tray, Camera Tilt System, BlueROV2 Spares Kit

Good day everyone! This week we are announcing a few more products that are already part of the BlueROV2 but are very useful on their own!

Electronics Tray for the 4″ Series Enclosure

This Electronics Tray makes it dramatically easier to mount electronics and other equipment inside the 4″ Series Watertight Enclosure. It consists of machined ABS plastic parts and anodized aluminum parts. The main tray has mounting holes for a variety of different electronics, for cables to be routed, and for terminal blocks to distribute power. The front panel has mounting holes for the camera tilt mount and the rear has extra space for cable routing from the cable penetrators at the back of the enclosure.

On the BlueROV2 we mount this tray vertically so that we can see all of the electronics easily, but it can be used horizontally as well.

Camera Tilt System for RasPi Camera and Analog Camera

The Camera Tilt System is a tilting camera mount which works seamlessly with the Watertight Enclosure for ROV/AUV (4″ Series) and the Electronics Tray (4″ Series).The camera mounts are compatible with our Raspberry Pi Camera w/ Wide Angle Lens and our Low-Light Analog Camera.

The mount uses a high-quality Hitec HS-5055MG digital servo for smooth performance

BlueROV2 Spares Kit and Spare Basic ESC

Are you going on an extended voyage and want to ensure you have everything you need for a smooth journey? This BlueROV2 Spares Kit is just what you need! Having a few extras of these key items should put your mind at ease. We chose the items in this kit based on our own experiences in the field. Includes 1 T200, 1 Basic ESC, 1 Dome End Cap, 1 Lead Weight, and various O-rings and zip ties.

We also have the Basic ESC available with the connectors used on the BlueROV2. These make for a quick replacement on the BlueROV2 if an ESC ever fails!

That’s all we’ve got today! Stay tuned for more new products in the future!

New Products! Lumen Subsea Light & 3″ Aluminum End Caps

Hey there! We are stoked to announce the release of a few new products that will be sure to brighten your day – the Lumen Subsea Light and aluminum end caps for the 3″ Watertight Enclosure series! We’ve also updated the flange for the 2″ Series Watertight Enclosure.

New Product Video

Lumen Subsea Light

Does your ROV or AUV need a little (or a lot of) light in its life? The Lumen subsea light is a blindingly bright LED light for use on ROVs, AUVs, and other subsea applications.

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New Products! Potting Kit, 14-Hole End-cap, and PCBs for Bar30 and Celsius Sensors

Howdy and happy World Water Day! Today we are introducing a few new products: a potting kit that will make life a little easier, a new end cap for the 4″ Series Watertight Enclosure, and PCB versions of our temperature and depth/pressure sensors!

Potting Kit

When it comes to potting, we’ve got you covered! Potting is a necessity when working with electronics in a marine environment, and specifically for a few of our products, including the M100 and M200 Motors and the Cable Penetrators.

We go through lots of syringes, needles, mixing sticks, and cups every day during production and we figured we’d put together a kit as a convenience for you. This kit works great with Loctite Marine Epoxy and most other potting compounds. Each kit comes with 10 each of 10mL syringes, luer tips, mixing sticks, and cups.

Aluminum End Cap with 14 Holes (4″ Series)

Next up is a new end cap option for the 4″ Series Watertight Enclosure. As with the solid and 10-hole aluminum end cap, this end cap is stronger, easier to machine, and provides a better depth rating than the clear acrylic end caps. With 14 holes, this end cap gives you even more flexibility with your enclosure!

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Announcing Worldwide Distributors for BR Products!

Today we are happy to announce a number of distributors around the world who are or will be carrying Blue Robotics products. These new partners will help to get our products to you much faster, more reliably, and with language-specific support! We already have distributors on three continents and five countries, but we are still looking for partners in areas of the world that are not yet represented.

Listed below are brief descriptions of the distributors. Most of these companies do not have products in stock yet, but will within the coming months. Please stay tuned!

We also have these companies listed on our new distributor page with a map view and contact information for each company.


Ciscrea

Ciscrea is an engineering firm that customizes products and designs solutions to fit a multitude of needs, focused specifically on subsea technology. Their multidisciplinary team and network of partners guarantees global and timely solutions for your project. Ciscrea is located in La Farlède, France.



RobotShop

RobotShop specializes in personal and professional robot technology and offers a wide range of robotic products and services in the industry. They have offices in the US (Swanton, VT), Canada (Mirabel, Québec), and France (Gonesse). They’ve been enabling makers and robot users since 2003 and we are excited to be a part of their community!



ROV-Control

ROV-Control, based in Wuppertal, Germany, is the developer of a modular control system for ROVs. The system is compatible with many types of vehicles, ranging from small diving robots to complex diving systems. They design and build a number of sensors and electronic components as well.



ROV Service Chile

ROV Service Chile is near Puerto Montt, Chile, one of the most productive salmon fishing ports in the world. They specialize in ROV services and support in their hometown and the region.



Syera

Syera specializes in designing, manufacturing, and implementation of subsea systems. They are located in Belgentier, France.


Remember to check out the new distributor page!

New Products + Website Updates

Happy Friday everyone! We’re very excited to announce the newest component available for our 4″ Series Watertight Enclosure – a dome end cap! We’d also like to share a few changes we made to our website. Check out the third installment of our new product videos!

New Product Video

Dome for the 4″ Series Watertight Enclosure

We are pretty amped for the dome for a number of reasons. For starters, it provides a little bit of extra room within the enclosure to fit additional electronics, sensors, or specifically, a camera! Its field of view is much better than that of a flat end cap and it’s perfect for a tilting camera. Because of its rounded shape, the dome reduces drag on your vehicle.

The dome is $10 off for the first week!

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The way the dome is manufactured is fairly unique. The dome itself is injection molded acrylic and the flange is an ABS flange. The two parts are laser welded together, which uses a CNC controlled laser to melt the ABS flange to the acrylic dome. The joint between the two parts is tightly sealed and very strong.

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Long Endurance Testing: First Update

Hello! A few months back we shared the results of pressure testing done by the folks at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Today we are excited to announce the results of our most recent test: endurance testing of the T100 thruster!

Background

In May of this year, we got a 400 gallon testing tank to test our thrusters and other products. In September, Adam joined our team and his first project was to design a testing rig to evaluate the performance of a T100 with BlueESC over an extended period of time. We’ve done some long endurance testing before – during development, we tested a T100 at half throttle continuously for more than 500 hours (3 weeks). During our beta testing phase the students at Carl Hayden Community High School tested a T100 at full throttle continuously for over 170 hours (7 days). Additionally, our customers have collectively logged thousands of hours out in the field. (Thanks, guys!)


tank

The beginning stages of the test set-up.


The Test

Adam began by constructing the frame of the rig using aluminum T-slot extrusions, 3D printed parts, and other hardware. The rig itself is capable of testing four thrusters at a time. The tank was filled with fresh water and treated with chlorine.

The thruster is running continuously at 56% throttle – it’s only removed from the tank every couple weeks for inspection. The motor has a rotational speed of 3000 RPM, and draws a constant current of 4 amps.

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