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Seabotix Rugged, Capable, Compact ROV's.

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Videoray - Press Release - December 1, 2004

VIPS Review by Chris Olstad of Marinelab

November 10-12 Video Ray, Inc. of Exton, Pennsylvania hosted a Micro-ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Conference that included a broad range of U.S. and international clients. Participants included the US Coast Guard, law enforcement, the commercial off-shore industry, scientists, engineers and educators.

An evening hands-on in-water ROV training and new technology demo session at the Marine Resources Development Foundation (MRDF) lagoon was part of the VideoRay International Partners Symposium 2004.
Photo by Steve Van Meter.

The focus of the symposium was a very small, yet remarkably capable ROV called the Video Ray. Approximately 16 inches long and weighing about 15 lbs., models included features such as; color (tilt) video cameras, sonar, manipulator claw, automatic depth control, 2 forward and 1 vertical thruster (forward speed approx. 6 knots), 1000 ft. depth capability, a compact topside visual monitoring/control interface, and range in cost from $6000 - $50,000 for complete system packages.

While the Marriott housed participants for a series of lecture/presentations for 3 days, the Marine Resources Development Foundation (MRDF) lagoon hosted afternoon and evening hands-on in-water ROV training and new technology demonstrations. Both US Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies simulated ROV harbor search/recovery and homeland security scenarios in the MRDF and Pennakamp Park lagoons.

Experts in the fields of sonar, acoustical imagery, wireless through- water acoustical data telemetry, hardware/software programming, hydrodynamic modeling/water tunnel testing, miniature gyroscope navigation/guidance systems, and state-of-the-art remote visualization technologies rounded out the conference and made for some very interesting after-hours brainstorming sessions.

One of the sonar experts, now based at the University of Washington in Seattle, fondly recalled his aquanaut saturation dives and acoustical studies conducted in our MRDF manned underwater MarineLab Habitat, saying it was one of the highlights in obtaining his ocean engineering degree at Florida Atlantic University, many years ago.

The most intriguing aspect of the whole experience for this operator was remotely flying the Video Ray using a laptop computer with a wireless internet connection. A highly integrated (joy-stick) video game controller moved the ROV almost intuitively, and head-mounted display goggles provided a totally "immersive" undistracted visualization experience. The user was now "in" the submersible ROV. This technology has, literally and figuratively, far reaching implications for the next generation of marine scientists, technicians and engineers and we hope to be able to integrate it into the MRDF MarineLab Habitat student/aquanaut experience (Projects SEA SQUID & Remora) and the MarineLab student offshore experience.

[Chris Olstad - Habitat Operations Director 11/31/04]

Want to learn more about VIPS from someone who was there? E-mail Chris Olstad at


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