- Press Release - May 31, 2005
VideoRay Underwater Robot
Aids United Nations in Tsunami Cleanup
Vehicle (ROV) rushed to Phuket, Thailand with
May 31, 2005, Exton, PA - After
the devastating Tsunami of December 26, 2004,
it was clear that the destruction of human homes
and lives was accompanied by significant damage
to many of the region's natural resources, including
coral reefs. The United Nations Office for Project
Services (UNOPS - www.unops.org
) is coordinating the UNDP Reef Recovery and Rehabilitation
Project in Thailand, along with the Phuket Marine
Biological Center (PMBC - http://www.pmbc.go.th/English/English.asp
David Marsden operates
VideoRay as Scott Bentley looks over his
shoulder at PMBC dock.
With the hazards and difficulties of extended
human diving in this environment, a public tender
was prepared to locate the best portable Remotely
Operated Vehicle to assist divers and document
the condition of reefs before and after reconstructions
and to survey wreckage and debris in the water.
UNOPS selected the VideoRay Pro III from VideoRay
LLC, as the most proven, feature rich and cost-efficient
ROV, and on April 15th an urgent purchase ordered
was issued for one unit and training. Less than
two weeks later the unit was in Bangkok, and within
a month the training was completed.
Scott Bentley, the President of VideoRay LLC,
and Steve Van Meter, the Hazardous Duty Robotics
Specialist on leave from NASA, Kennedy Space Center,
traveled to Phuket to train VideoRay operators
including Niphon Phongsuwan, the primary Marine
(coral reef) Biologist of PMBC, Lynsey Hill, the
Technical Coordinator, Reef Recovery and Rehabilitation,
Thailand, of UNOPS and David Marsden, a Professional
diver for UNOPS. The three day training sessions
included basic operations, maintenance including
disassembly and reassembly of the unit, and operations
from both piers and a large diving support vessel.
"It is important for us to have the best
scientific tools available to observe underwater
specimens and activity" said Mr. Phongsuwan,
describing the importance of the VideoRay to PMBC.
"The video record and stills we capture with
VideoRay let us document the status, growth, and
change of living coral reefs."
"We need to get the tonnes of debris from
houses, boats, and other man-made material which
fell on the reefs removed as quickly and efficiently
as we can, using mainly volunteer labor."
Said Ms. Hill. "We're very excited about
the use of VideoRay - a device that has no limits
on depth, dive time, or the other physiological
constraints we must live with when we dive. The
VideoRay will check out sites before we dive them,
and work alongside of divers during cleanups -
saving us time and making us far safer and more
efficient. And, with the ability to capture video
and stills to our laptop computer, we'll have
better documentation of our project."
Since the cost of the VideoRay was lower than
anticipated for this capability, the UNOPS is
considering purchasing additional accessories
including a larger monitor, a water quality sensor
and scanning sonar to make the underwater robot
even more valuable to the project.
For further information:
Chris Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org
VideoRay LLC Director, Marketing