Updated Product: Lumen Subsea Light

Hi friends! Today we are dazzled to announce an update of the Lumen Subsea Light. The improvements are pretty lit if we say so ourselves! Read more below!

Side note: If you’re interested in having some input on our future products and developments, please make sure to take our 3rd Annual Product Interest Survey.

Check out the new Lumen!

Body and Lens

The most obvious update to the Lumen is the body and lens. The new design features aluminum screws to prevent galvanic corrosion, a thicker cable jacket less susceptible to nicks or holes, and a built in mount for convenient and secure attachment. The body is a little bit larger in diameter as well.

Wider Brightness Range and Better Low-Light Output

The first revision of the Lumen was configured to emit light ranging from about half brightness to full brightness. We’ve learned a lot since the release of the original Lumen, especially the fact that more light does not necessarily imply better lighting. The new lights have an exponential brightness curve and are capable of reaching a much lower brightness level to provide a wider dynamic range.

The image below shows a comparison between the old and new brightness ranges in illuminating a mooring at 60m water depth on a cloudy day.

More Robust Sealing and 950m Depth Rating

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3rd Annual(ish) Product Interest Survey + Previous Year’s Results

In the past we’ve asked all of our customers and followers to complete a “product interest survey” to help guide our future plans. We’re doing it again this year to learn about your current interests, desires, and feedback. If you have a moment, please take our 3rd Annual Product Interest Survey and let us know what you want. It really matters to us and it actually affects what we work on next.

We’ve always tried to keep these surveys short, but this year’s is a little longer because we have so much to ask about! Because we want to motivate you to give the best possible feedback, we’ll be giving away four $250 Blue Robotics Store Credits to a few lucky respondents!

Take the 3rd Annual Product Interest Survey!

Just like last time and in our continued spirit of being an open and transparent company, we want to share some of the results from the last survey in 2016 and show you how we used that info! Continue reading if you’re interested!

Vehicle Type

The first question asked about vehicle type, and we again got an overwhelming response for ROVs. However, there was a big jump in interest in AUVs and USVs.

Applications

The results for applications look very similar for 2016 compared with 2015. We saw a bit of a shift with more people using our products for professional applications like inspections and a smaller percentage of the responses going to “robotics competitions”. Lots of people were interested in photography and exploration as well, similar to the first survey.

Depth Rating

This one is particularly interesting and shows that people’s interests and expectations for the products are increasing. In the first survey, most people were interested in 25-100m and the spread was very even on either side of that depth. However, in this survey, the results shifted noticeably deeper with a significant number of people interested in 100-1000 meter depths.

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New Product: The Newton Subsea Gripper!

Today’s new product should grab your attention – it’s the Newton Subsea Gripper for the BlueROV2 and other subsea vehicles! Check out the new product video:

The Newton Subsea Gripper is a single function manipulator that’s simple, robust, and highly capable. It’s controlled by a standard servo-style PWM signal, just like our thrusters and lights, runs on 9-18v, and is rated to 300 meter depth.

It comes with a quick-adjust mount that makes it easy to mount to the BlueROV2 and allows it to be retracted and rotated in the field. The mount attaches with two included M5 screws but you will have to drill the appropriate holes on the BlueROV2 bottom panel. We have clear instructions on how to do that.

That’s it for today! If you are in Japan, please visit our stand at Oceans ’18 in Kobe next week! We’ll have the BlueROV2 and the Newton Subsea Gripper on display.

New Products: Black Propellers, Updated 4″ Dome, Updated Battery, and the Bar02 Pressure Sensor!

Hello, friends! Today we have a few new and updated products to announce: black propellers for the T100 and T200, an update to the 4″ dome end-cap design, and the new Bar02 ultra-high resolution pressure sensor.

Black Propellers

Walking around at Oceanology International in London last month, we were thrilled to see a number of vehicles on display at different stands using the T100 and T200 thrusters! We also noticed that our blue propellers aren’t the perfect match for everyone’s color scheme.

A few vehicles at OI2018 with T100 and T200 Thrusters.

We decided to start offering the propellers in black as well for situations where you want the thrusters to blend in or have a slightly different look. The black propellers come in clockwise/counterclockwise sets with mounting screws.

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Introducing the BlueROV2 Heavy!

Today’s new product is something we can’t weight to share! It’s one of the biggest capabilities we’ve added to the BlueROV2 yet!

The new BlueROV2 Heavy Configuration upgrades the BlueROV2 to have four vertical thrusters, providing some powerful new performance capabilities including six degree-of-freedom control, active stability control, and additional payload capacity! We’ve been planning this upgrade since before the BlueROV2 was originally launched, and because of that, every BlueROV2 that we’ve ever shipped has the mounting holes ready to upgrade to the BlueROV2 Heavy Configuration.

The four vertical thrusters are mounted on the outside of the frame and have a protective guard to prevent snagging on the tether or anything else. The void left by the original vertical thrusters is filled with an additional buoyancy foam block and fairing for additional stability while maintain a sleek design.

There’s a lot of cool things about this new configuration. It’s probably best explained by watching it in action. Check out the official new product video to see it in action!

The BlueROV2 Heavy Retrofit Kit includes everything you need to upgrade your existing or new BlueROV2 to the heavy configuration and we’ve got a clear set of instructions on how to do that.

The main components of the retrofit kit, the guards, foam, and fairings, are also available separately for anyone who’d like to upgrade piece by piece or wants to use them in another application. The BlueROV2 spare thrusters are also available separately. You can check out the parts below.

You can check out the BlueROV2 Heavy in person at our stand at Oceanology International in London from March 13th-15th! We’d love to see you there so please stop by!

New Product: The Thruster Commander!

We’re excited to announce a new product today: the Thruster Commander! The Thruster Commander is a small control unit and accessories to make it as easy as possible to start using our thrusters. It’s the perfect test tool in the shop to get them up and running but it also has the capability to control multiple thrusters on a kayak, standup paddleboard, or just about any project you might have in mind!

Check out the new product video for a detailed explanation and to see it in action!

In addition to the control unit, the Thruster Commander includes two potentiometers and knobs that are used for input. There are two output channels and they can be controlled independently or they can be mixed together to provide smooth speed and steering control. Check out the new product video below for more information!

That’s all for today. Be sure to visit our stands at Underwater Intervention in New Orleans from February 6-8 and at Oceanology International 2018 in London on March 13-15!

New Products! 2″ and 3″ Series Domes

Happy Tuesday, friends! We’re excited to kick off 2018 with a couple additions to the Watertight Enclosure Series: optically clear domes for the 2″ Series and 3″ Series enclosures!

Dome shaped end caps can handle significantly more pressure for the same thickness as flat end caps. Both of these new domes are designed for extreme pressures – 900m for the 3″ Series and 1000+m for the 2″ Series! That means that these can both go just as deep or deeper than the 2″ Series Aluminum Tube and 3″ Series Aluminum Tube.


Domes are also ideal for use with cameras as they retain the original field of view of the camera compared to a flat end cap, which will reduce the field of view. These domes are both made from optically clear acrylic and won’t warp or distort your footage.

Compared to our original 4″ Series dome, these have a new design with a separate dome and retaining ring, providing a robust and simple seal and installation.

That rounds out our new product post for today! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more new products soon.

BlueROV2 Named #1 Educational ROV!

Marine robotics is truly an interdisciplinary subject – it lies at the intersection of biology, physics, engineering, and chemistry. Educators are always looking for innovative ways to illustrate concepts to their students, and for the topic of marine robotics, a remotely operated vehicle is the perfect tool for the job. We are honored to share that the BlueROV2 was named the best educational ROV by International Ocean Systems!


Captain Marc Deglinnocenti ranked the top ROVs based on five factors: ease of use, cost, ease of maintenance, expandability, and depth rating. The BlueROV2 rated high across the board. Read the full article here!

New Product: The Fathom Slim Tether!

We’ve got one more new product to squeeze in for 2017! The new Fathom Slim Tether is a high performance tether cable designed specifically for ROVs and other subsea applications and optimized for light weight, high strength, and transportability. It is neutrally buoyant, has 300 lb breaking strength, and is embedded with water-blocking fibers to seal any leaks. The tether has a diameter of 4.0mm and is much slimmer than the vast majority of ROV tethers.

The tether carries one unshielded twisted pair (UTP) of 26AWG wire. The core of the cable contains Kevlar strands for strength and filler fibers for space filling. Both fibers are impregnated with waterblocking compound to block any leaks caused by nicks or rips in the cable. The high-visibility yellow polyurethane foam jacket resists abrasion and provides neutral buoyancy.

The BlueROV2 with a 100m Fathom Slim Tether.

This tether really shines when it comes to it’s size. It’s slim profile makes it ultra low-drag, making it ideal for deep dives, high current dives, and long distance dives where the drag from the tether is really noticeable. The size also makes it incredibly portable and easy to handle. A hundred meter tether weighs just 3 lb (1.4 kg) and can be managed by hand very easily.

Since the tether only has two wires, is can only be used for the primary communication of the BlueROV2. There are no spare twisted pairs when using this cable, which means that it is not compatible with the Water Linked Analog Locator and is not ideal for applications where you need extra tether pairs.

We wish everyone a very happy New Year!

Updated Companion Software with New Camera Settings Page!

We’re excited to announce a new version of the Companion computer software is now available! This update adds a number of new features including a great new camera configuration page to adapt the camera settings to the underwater lighting conditions.

The update includes:

  • Display CPU and RAM usage statistics on the System page
  • Auto-detect and auto-connect to Water Linked Underwater GPS system
  • Add option to change the static ip address of the ROV on the Network page
  • Add support for Internet Explorer
  • Camera configuration page: easily configure camera and video stream settings

Lighting conditions underwater are quite different than above water. The light that penetrates the surface is absorbed at different rates depending on the color. Here’s a neat plot from NOAA Ocean Explorer showing how far different colors penetrate the water. As you can see, blue and green tend to go the furthest whereas red is absorbed almost immediately.

Credit: NOAA OceanExplorer

That changes the way that things look underwater. As you descend underwater, red will disappear from the image first, changing the overall color of the image. To truly correct that, you need to add the light back into the scene by illuminating it with lights.

The new camera page lets you adjust the color and lighting settings to cope with the color changes and make the camera view look more natural. With the ability to save different profiles, you can make a profile for shallow water, deep water, low visibility, good visibility, etc.

Please check out the forum post here that details the update process and the changes. If you have any feedback or results, feel free to share.