BeagleBone Black project spotlight: OpenROV

By Tara Stratton

Whether you want to explore the seas for science and education,
“snorkel” for fish and coral without getting wet, or hunt for
buried treasure in unexplored seas, OpenROV is something you need
to check out!

David Lang and Eric Stackpole created OpenROV—an underwater robot
that can be controlled with a laptop—in a garage in Cupertino, Calif.
with the goal of exploring an underwater cave. After finding a global
community of co-developers on
, the project evolved,
developing into a global community of DIY ocean explorers who are
using and improving the OpenROV design. The community gathers
everyone from professional ocean engineers and software developers
to hobbyists and students, all who want to learn and explore the
oceans and lakes of the world. Adventurous souls can make their own
OpenROV from scratch, using design files on for support.
Explorers also can

buy an OpenROV kit
, which comes with all the
hardware needed to assemble your own OpenROV, for only $849.00.

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The newest OpenROV robot—OpenROV 2.5—was introduced in September
2013. It is now powered by the Sitara-processor-based BeagleBone Black
(it was formerly powered by the original BeagleBone), enabling lower
cost and higher performance robots. Its many other upgrades include a
durable polypropylene shell, more efficient propellers, added buoyancy
to support more payloads, more robust battery tubes, and laser range
and size calculating capability. These submarine-like robots are
open-source, enabling anyone to hack them to add new features and
functionality. David and Eric say the robot kit can be built in a
single weekend, so you can kick off your treasure hunt in no time,
even without a degree in engineering!

OpenROV sounds cool, but it’s even more impressive in action. Check
out CNN’s video of OpenROV to see how it works:

There are now more than 500 OpenROVs swimming in more than 50
countries around the world. Want to explore your own unchartered
waters? Visit to find out more.

If you want to hear more about David Lang’s leap into the Maker
movement and how he grew to be a successful entrepreneur, check out
his new book
Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About)