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OpenROV's Co-Founder Discusses the Future of Underwater Exploration

12 November 2015, 10:00 am EST By Natalie Shoemaker Tech Times
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The ocean, like space, is a curious place. But in space there are points of light to guide us, moments that give us a feeling of awe. In the vast deep, there are no points of reference on the surface. It's contents remain hidden the dark shroud across its surface. When we do go down to take a peek, humans are only permitted a glimpse without scuba gear. Even with it, the scope of sight is limited.

"People have been exploring from the surface for as long as people have been getting to the ocean, but getting into the ocean is still tricky business and it's only in very recent times that we've had the technology that can take us more than as deep as you can go holding your breath," Oceanographer Sylvia Earle explained in an interview.

It's not hard to believe only 5-percent of our oceans have been explored thus far. But without the means of James Cameron or Jacques-Yves Cousteau, most of us must remain happy to merely glide across its surface.

(Photo : OpenROV )

OpenROV co-founders Eric Stackpole and David Lang would like to change that, so they developed an underwater drones that allows users to go into the deep on their own to explore. The two express their desire to engineer a way for everyone to access what's under the surface of our waters. Their hope is that this tool will help give context to the murkier parts of our world with the Trident and Mini ROV class drones.

"Ultimately, people are curious" Lang told TechTimes an interview. "I think that for some reason over the past 100 years we've got this idea that curiosity is limited to a few scientists and a few explorers. I don't think that's the case, I think a lot of people have ideas and dream and get excited by the unknown, and we've just built a tool."

It's a tool that allows people to be where they physically cannot, where nature does not allow. But what will you find when you plop your drone into the water?

Many people like to ask Lang what's been found now that there are thousands of these underwater drones going 25 to 100 meters exploring the depths. Well, for one, he said, "100 meters is a really important depth because that's most of the continental shelf." It's a place most divers can't go.

But in terms of big breakthroughs, he added, "There's been no big breakthrough as far as new species or anything like that that I know of. But there's been a bunch of cool phenomena that's been seen."

More importantly this drone is a tool that gives people the means to form a better context of our world by seeing what lies beneath all on their own. "For us it isn't so much about what's been found, it's the fact that there's so many more people looking and there's so many new people looking," Lang said. "People who normally wouldn't have been involved in ocean science are now getting involved in looking."

(Photo : OpenROV)

What Stackpole and Lang are doing is similar to what SpaceVR is trying to accomplish: Engineering accessibility. It's a way to enable curiosity and transform it into a greater understanding about a piece of our world. OpenROV is just another tool to help develop this greater fabric of knowledge.

When Google Ocean was released Earle became optimistic for the future of our world, explaining that this innovation has helped in "developing this fabric of knowledge with people who, once they know may be inspired to care. It's the only thing that will cause people to care, knowing and with knowing the caring that comes through is cause for hope that we'll find an enduring place for ourselves within the natural world, the natural systems, mostly blue, that keep us alive."

With OpenROV this knowledge can only grow.

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