In August 2012, I hit the waters of Duxbury Bay with Ashley Martelli and Deniz Diogo of Aquabotix, a startup tech company based in Fall River, Massachusetts, that makes underwater video-monitoring systems. Aquabotix’s latest product is the HydroView, a remotely operated underwater video camera that’s controlled via an iPad. It’s like having your very own ROV at your fingertips!
Since the camera works best in clear water, we set a course for Gurnet Point, at the entrance to Duxbury Bay, where we found aquarium-like conditions in 15’ of water. After connecting the ROV/camera cable to the black box and making sure we had a good signal to the iPad, Diogo lowered the camera overboard and sent it diving for the bottom using a virtual joystick on the iPad screen. In no time we were getting a fascinating real-time view of the weed-covered rocks below and dozens of small bottom fish.
The HydroView is propelled by 3 motors—1 in the tail and 1 on each side—that allow it to move up, down, forward and reverse. Commands, including speed settings, are sent via wireless connection from the iPad to a black box “brain” and from there to the camera via a cable. The cable is supported every 20’ or so by yellow bobbers that reduce drag and prevent tangles.
Battery life of the HydroView is approximately 2 hours, although this varies depending on current and operating speed. Performance is best in less than 4 knots of current and in clear, debris-free water. Maximum operating depth is 150’.
The really neat thing about the HydroView is that it can be used to record high-definition videos and photos via the iPad. As you can see in the accompanying video, the resolution is excellent—and the creative possibilities are limitless.
After taking the HydroView for a test drive (or test dive), I found that the system took some getting used to, especially when the camera is submerged and you can’t watch it responding to your commands. Also, the iPad screen can be difficult to view in direct sunlight. Once I got the hang of it, however, I was able to “swim” the camera over the rocky underwater terrain and record some great shots of fish and vegetation.
The HydroView camera housing is made of tough, impact-resistant plastic and features a scratch-resistant lens cover that can be replaced if necessary. It comes standard with 75’ of cable (lengths up to 200’ are available), the black box and a water-resistant, impact-resistant case, along with software for the iPad control app. Total cost of the base unit is $3,995. Maintenance is as simple as hosing off or submerging the unit is fresh water after use.
The HydroView can be used by boaters to check out their hull and running gear, perform mooring and seawall inspections and simply scan the bottom for marine life. It can also be used for ecological, scientific and commercial fishing purposes.
To learn more, watch the accompanying video or visit the Aquabotix website: JUST CLICK HERE
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