50 observations in 2 expeditions

Recent Observations

Final shots and interviews for a feature film and this expedition is a wrap. On our way back to Florida!

This is the last part of our expedition and without a doubt the most difficult one. Join us in the deep cloud forest of the Southern area of the Llanganates. Images : Julien Calligaris

Houston we have a problem! We are aboard a small inflattable boat, in the middle of this incredible crater lagoon at 11,500 feet, pushing the green and thick algae aside to plunge OpenROV into the water. With a laptop and a game controller we slowly control the descend of the ROV. We have tripled the length of the tether, we should reach the bottom of the lake around 250m and we have 50m of extra length just in case. A bit more is known about Laguna Quilotoa since scientific studies were performed in 1993. After the disastrous carbon dioxide eruptions of Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun in Cameroon in the late 1980s, scientists began to study the gaseous composition of crater lakes to pinpoint possibly dangerous lake conditions around the world. Because Laguna Quilotoa had at least four eruptions of some type since 1797 which left no evidence of magma on the surrounding surface, scientists suspected that an explosive carbon dioxide escape had been responsible for the death of cattle, noxious fumes and flames reported after an earthquake centered nearby. From that study it is known that the lake is made up of two basins, the deeper of which reaches 840 feet and that gases escape from a fault below the surface. The scientific team determined that, at least at present, there is little danger of such an explosion of gases in the near future. Monitoring will continue to see how these gases escape and whether they build up during changing weather conditions. Everything looks "Ok", we have a small oxygen tank just in case, so we are ready to dive. Everything is going smoothly, all these efforts are about to be finally rewarded. It has been a rollercoaster since day one, spending sleepless nights to get the ROV ready, doing a few dive tests in Ecuador while pursuing N other projects and training archaeologists, struggling with the lack of oxygen and spending countless hours in fast & furious buses... Due to the complexity of the environment, very few divers had the opportunity to visit the site. Local legends even said that the lake has no bottom, it just keeps going forever. Other said that in this region, the locals, a few years after the Spanish conquest, appeared wearing vey expensive garments and jewelry. The position of the lake is also perfectly aligned with other sites that are related to the legends of the mausoleum of Atahualpa. Some said that nothing live at the bottom of the lake, others talk about some mysterious creatures... For all these reasons, we are so excited. We have no idea if this going to work of if the ROV is going to implode due to the pressure or be kidnapped by the creatures living in the volcano! This is science fiction, it feels like we are about to walk on the surface of the moon... As OpenROV keeps going deeper and deeper, we have almost no visibility on the control screen. Our LED lights have been turned on but we are alone in the darkness. Finally, we are there.... Huge boulders, deep cliffs.... it really looks like the surface of the moon. Lets' start exploring! We try to move the ROV to the right from its "landing position"... nothing. To the left... nope. Backward, the ROV made a small jump and stopped... There is something wrong. After a few attempts, we realize that we won't be able to bring it back to the boat, there is something wrong, the three motors are no longer responding. Our only "rescue line" is the 300 meters tether that has been immerged. We start pulling it slowly, slowly... after a while we realize that they is no resistance, it is coming up way too easily... until we realize that the ROV is no longer connected to the surface. This happened during the second phase of the expedition when we started pulling up the ROV with the tether as we've lost communication and soon we realized that one of the two soldering points where two tethers were attached together broke, leaving us with 100 meters of tether in the boat and the rest including the ROV somewhere at the bottom of the cratere lake. At this point, there is nothing we can do. There is no plan B, we gambled everything. Of course, we are extremely disappointed. Even the locals who were so excited about the experiment are sad. No one as attempted such thing before and they were so curious about the ROV and the idea to see the bottom of this lake with their own eyes. The return to the shores seemed like an eternity. Everyone was morning the loss of our little robot. From there, where can we go? Well, is the glass half empty or half full? On one side, we can consider this project as a failure, on the other side we know where to focus our attention for a second attempt. Even better, we can know launch a new project and aim at the recovery of the first ROV with the help of a new robot and perhaps some kind of articulated arm. Imagine that, an open source robot rescued by another ROV at the bottom of a cratere lake! That would be a unique salvage operation! Obviously, we still need to map the bottom of this lake. We only have good reasons to rollup our sleeves and try again until we eventually succeed. On the bright side, we were able to complete our aerial survey even though our small experiment with brain-controlled interfaces was not really successful.

This viewpoint will literally take your breath away.

4,400 meters... For people who live the entire year at altitude 0, it is quite a challenge. On top of that we are not all equal when it is about altitude sickness. We are really pushing the envelopp but we are so close. Altitude sickness is relatively unstudied because of how quickly and unpredictably it goes from nausea to coughing up blood to death. Even those who take time to acclimatize can suddenly and violently get sick. Any sign that's more than a mild headache means it's time to accept that the mountain won. Let's take a deep breath and finish the job!

Back to our new headquarters, an ancient hacienda, where we have setup a real tech lab full of all kind of robots, video and telecommunication devices. There is even this huge hexacopter that is design to carry a RED camera. Yes, OpenROV will appear in a full feature film that will be presented at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Maiden flight of our waterproof UAV. Designed to fly in extreme conditions this drone is lightweight, easy to deploy and equipped with strong engines to fight strong winds and all the electronics are protected by a robust and waterproof frame. After a few attempts to properly calibrate the compass, we had to update the firmware, do a few tests and we were finally able to control the quadcopter. We are now training the team of archaeologists and geologists in a site that has a few tolas (tombs) and next we will equipp the quad with a gimbal and a FPV system.

Amazing Sigchos. This is where the general Ruminahui, the last hope of the Inca resistance was captured by the conquistadors. Dangerous roads and high altitude but we are documenting a few amazing archaeological sites. Looks like this is the beginning of a great journey.

On our way to the Sigchos! 3,700 meters high. It's getting difficult.

Hello Latacunga! We'll stay here for a few days. The altitude is just around 3,000 meters, which is fine for us to acclimate. There, we are going to get our equipment ready for two small expeditions. One in the region of the Sigchos where the Inca ruins of Maqui Machay have been found (again there is a connection with Atahualpa that we will develop here later) and where some other sites desserved to be investigated. The other site is the famous cratere lake of the Quilotoa where we will use OpenROV. Latacunga is part of the volcanic area of Ecuador which is composed by several active volcanos. The Cotopaxi (5 897 meters) is located only 25km away. The city was entirely destroyed in 1742, 1768 and 1877.

Quick stop at San Augustin de Callo, a palace built by Tupac-Yupanqui or Huayna-Capac around 1440 A.D., today a 5 stars hacienda. It includes an impressive Inca Chapel with its 17th century ceiling and perfectly carved Inca volcanic stone walls.

We are back to Quito where we have spent the day at the Convento de San Francisco and other places to check some important documents about the Conquest of Quito and the genealogy of Atahualpa.

Now that we have the maps we need, we are able to plan a serie of flights during which we will try to confirm a few theories. Once again, this is a multiscale approach. Based on our research, we first used some satellite data and then topographic maps. If the data collected during the flights is conclusive we will then use drones to survey the hot spots that we are discovering. We've found a plane that is ready for the job. Let's add a hat to the scene and we are almost ready to start shooting the next installment of the Indiana Jones movies.

Mapping is key! We are now in Quito where we are getting a set of topographic maps from the Instituto Geografico Militar. With the help of these maps, we should be able to plan the rest of our expedition.

Testing the basic brain interface experiment that we are currently playing with. Our geologist is literally amazed by the demo and foresee the development of human-machine interactions using brain signals and eventually precise thoughts.

We made it to an hacienda located somewhere in the Sierra of Ecuador. This is going to be our basecamp for the next couple of days. We will test and fine-tune our equipment while we investigate the site as numerous tolas are located nearby. We are currently training a small team of archaeologists and geologists to the use of drones, both aerial and underwater. We are also planning our expeditions to search for the lost tomb of Atahualpa. First, we will realize a photographic survey by plane.

Part 2 of the Dozuki has been completed. Applying acrylic cement between pieces of acrylic is not the easiest thing to do. This part was better than 2.6 but we wish that most pieces could be sculpted in one block. Surprisingly, we've spent a lot of time cutting and paper sanding the two syringes, perahps these two pieces can be 3D printed in a future iteration. Our epoxy mix (Loctite marine) didn't work quite well so we had to replace it by a 2-ton mix flow epoxy.

Part 1 of the Dozuki has been completed. Overall, the design of the acrylic pieces has improved a lot from the previous version of OpenROV. Pieces are solid and easy to assemblate. You still need tiny fingers to hold the screws when placing the motor mounts but with a little bit of patience you'll be fine.

Another milestone! We really encourage everyone who is interested in underwater archaeology to take this course. It was very informative and it also includes a chapter about technology and ROVs.

The clock is ticking... On Monday we will fly to Ecuador for the begginning of this exciting journey, we had only a few days to build and test OpenROV 2.7 and a waterproof UAV. We are not sleeping anymore, we have been working around the clock.

Atahualpa was the last true ruler of the Tawantinsuyu, the Inca Empire. With about less than 200 men, the Spanish conquistador, Pizarro, succeeded in capturing Atahualpa in Cajamarca. After collecting part of a ransom, the Spanish conquistadors finally executed him on July 26 of 1533. His remains were given a Christian burial and the conquistadors left the city. According to some legends and also to Spanish chroniclers such as Juan de Betanzos the body of Atahualpa disappeared, it was mummified and carried to actual Ecuador where it was given to the Inca general Ruminahui. There is no first-hand sources of the conquest of Quito, the North of the Kingdom, and the defeat of Ruminahui, it is all just myth right now but most sources indicate that the mausoleum of Atahualpa could be located in the remote area of the Llanganates. The Llanganates National Park is unique as it remains a virgin territory. Many areas have not been explored or surveyed yet. Its inhospitable terrain, extreme climate and lack of touristic infrastructure around its entrance keeps it below the radar. A multi-scale approach We are going to start from a big search area, collect evidence and go to a small search area. This multi-scale approach starts with satellite imagery from private european and american companies. We have much better satellite data than what’s available on Google Earth and you can actually overlay those images on top of Google Earth data. Archaeologist Sarah Parcak was able to map most of the ancient city of Tanis using high-definition infrared satellite imagery. In our case and at this stage of the project, manual search is almost impossible, we have to automate the process. Computers can be programmed to look for pre-defined patterns. On top of that, the area where we search is often covered by clouds. From there, we had to start building drones, UAVs and ROVs and go on foot where we could use aerial and underwater photography to identify smaller locations of interests. Every image has to be geo-referenced, we need to know where the images have been taken. Images are then combined to recreate environments in 3D, we call this process Photogrammetry. We don’t have to look at things only through our eyes or video, we can also use multi-spectral range to capture data. Infrared data sensing helps us understanding the morphology of material on the ground, mark them and identify archaeological evidence whether they are carved rocks or traces of agricultural activities. Sometimes, we can also use Laser technology: LIDAR. Identified anomalies are finally explored by our team with the help of geo-physical devices that have been used in archaeology for some time now. We use magnetometry, electromagnetic induction and finally Ground penetrating radars to create 3D renderings that can be interpreted by archaeologists before they even start digging. Using this technology, if we find something like the mausoleum of Atahualpa we can start protecting it very early with something like the World Heritage Program before someone else starts looting the place. During our previous expeditions, we’ve found a stone structure which looks like a side of a pyramid, somewhere in the middle of the cloudforest. Apparently, according to local geologists, this site is a natural formation, however, some Inca roads and ancient artefacts have been found nearby so the investigation continues. We also plan to use OpenROV to explore and map the bottom of specific lakes that are connected to local legends and that might have been used as hidden-locations to protect the precious artefacts from the conquistadors.

We are running out of Acrylic Cement and we would like to order an alternative to the recommended IP Weld-ON 3 that is recommended by OpenROV: We are trying to move fast as we will be in the field in a few weeks only and most distributors won't be able to ship this product until the second week of January. We were wondering if anyone has experience with the SCIGRIP 4 10308 Acrylic solvent cement as it is available with two-days shipping on Amazon: There is also a "3" version of this product available but I am not sure what the difference is. *Note: This is for the U.S. market only. The products listed above might not be available in Europe and in the rest of the world. Thanks!

As indicated by the logo displayed on this page, our expedition has been recognized and is now supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation, scientific research, and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit As part of this collaboration we've received the latest version of OpenROV (2.7). We are very excited about the new features and enhancements, this platform is becoming more and more robust and a perfect tool for scientific exploration like we are trying to demonstrate it. For a few months already, we've been experimenting with OpenROV and we are just amazed by the outcomes. Possibilities are endless and with the help of 3D printing and other technologies we can materialize any concept. OpenROV is now fully part of our work and we are about to launch 4 new projects on OpenExplorer, please stay tuned! We wish everyone at OpenROV and to all the OpenROV Explorers a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Presenting at the annual Show & Tell session of the prestigious Southern Florida Chapter of the Explorers Club. OpenROV has generated a lot of interest from our local community of elite explorers and scientists. Great feedback about our upcoming expedition and many new opportunities for collaboration.

Last week, we had the opportunity to step aboard the replica of a late 16th century Spanish ship. It is the only galeon class vessel sailling the seven seas today. Not only we were able to experience what it was like to explore the world on such merchant vessels and warships that were sailed by the Europeans, but it was an amazing extension to the Maritime Archaeology course we took with the University of Southampton. Over the last couple of months we have learned a lot about the engineering of ships built during this era and this visit has been very helpful in getting a sense of dimensions and structures. Similar ships are lying on the seabed of the coasts of Florida. This will help us identifying parts of the shiprweck we are planning to survey with OpenROV.

Announcing the birth of the MDAP research group. It will complement our existing activities with aerial platforms (ADAP). A very special thank to Robin Roque for creating this new visual identity.

Cutting, wiring, soldering... rince & repeat... Slowly, we are getting there!

For the last two weeks We have been slammed with work but we are slowly getting closer to our goal and we are now back to our small improvized lab, building our custom mount for our ROV. However, we were able to take a few more powerboating classes in the Florida Keys. We cannot get tired of the beautiful sunset down here, it is simply amazing.

Back to school! We have the tech, we need the knowledge! In our previous post, we talked about our meeting with world-renowned whale and dolphin researchers and conservationists. Brainstorming with experts in their field, we are just starting to realize what an open source platform such as OpenRov can do for Sciences. In our era, more than ever, researchers can benefit from affordable technology, large communities of tech experts and enthusiasts, armies of citizen scientists, crowdsourcing systems and more... In order to establish this new kind of open collaboration, it is key for citizen scientist to be able to follow guidelines and operate by the book. Educational material and specialists are available worldwide to those who wants to learn. Regarding underwater archaeology, we are taking the same approach. We want to learn from the top experts in shipwreck exploration, we want to make sure we understand the fundamentals, that our work would be 100% non-invasive. By understanding the rules & regulations, the environment and challenges, we can also identify opportunities where ROVs can make a positive impact. We are now enrolled in a 4-weeks course offered by the Centre of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, UK. This course covers marine geophysics, archaeology, history, environmental science, advanced computing techniques and more. It is an Open Course so you can also join. The course has started two weeks ago but you can still join and catch up. To learn more about this course and enroll:

Who needs an ROV when you can get a... submarine/underwater tank!!?? We are meeting with many tech enthusiasts and divers here in the Florida Keys and they are really amazed by what a small robot like OpenROV can do.

Guess who is building a small marine lab on Saturday night at 3.00am? Connected work bench; 3D Printer; Flat screen TV connected with Chromecast; Water tank (frame pool); Mobile command center; Storage for parts...

While we are still brainstorming about our setup for a Go Pro camera, we are very excited about the upcoming new GoPro lineup featuring 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps!!! This new lineup will be available on October 4th and good news it comes with a compatible Dive Housing and Magenta/Red Dive Filters. Perfect timing for us which means that our dive tests will be recorded in 4K. Happy dance!! More info:

Command Center: Check!! It seems quite simple but we had a hard time pluging 3 monitors together. Getting the right graphic card was one thing but then we had to upgrade our power supply. Everything went fine for a couple of hours until the system started to overheating. We had to change the cooling system. I don't even want to talk about the VGA/DVI vs HDMI/VGA vs USB/VGA connectors... and their multiple adaptors/converters. Finally, figuring out the right configuration of AMD Infinity has also been a lot of fun!!! Once our tests completed, we would have to unplug everything, pack our gear and reassemblate the command center on location. Perhaps we should take some pictures before proceeding :-) Next step: ROV Controller (Emotiv Neuroheadset, Tobii Eye Tracking and Speech recognition system).

Working around the clock on our command center. To support our 3-screens setup we almost had to build a PC from scratch. This is a ton of work but we are getting there! Let's keep pushing mates!

In order to take large and hi-quality pictures of the shiprwecks that we can then process with a photogrammetry software, we are planning to use a GoPro camera that we need to attach horizontaly, below the ROV. Ideally, we would like to be able to control the GoPro camera either from the boat or... even better, from our command center. Obviously 2.4 GHz Wifi does not work under water. Water absorbs the signal, that's why ROVs are built with tethers. We were able to receive a signal in 5 inches of water but that's it. We are certainly not the first ones to run into this issue so if someone has found a solution, please let us know. Right now, we are thinking about a Wifi coaxial cable with a deep water housing. Something like this:

On our way back from Tampa, we stopped by Fort Piece, on the East coast of Florida. In the park of the St. Lucie County Historical Museum (South Causeway Park), behind the building, we were able to see the original anchor and two cannons of the Urca de Lima. The canons were removed from the underwater site in the 1920s. Four cement canons replace the originals at the site today. Originally, there were as many as sixteen cannons and four anchors raised from the wreck site. Some of them can also be seen at the Pinewood Park. The museum hosts a permanent exhibits called "Golden Galleons". It includes many artifacts recovered from the wrecks, including weapons, maps, tools, pottery, jewelry and information regarding the Spansh treasure fleet. The St. Lucie County Historical Museum is located at 414 Seaway Drive in Fort Pierce (Google Maps might take you on the other side of the bridge). The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4p.m.

Sometimes things do not happen exactly as planned. Unfortunately our last rehearsal did not succeed. For the last couple of days, we prepared for testing with our long-range Wifi structure but we were not able to transfer any bits of data despite our repeated attempts. Is that a failure? No, it's a learning curve! Are we going to give up or down scale our project? No and not because we are stubborn (yes, we are) but because we firmly believe that it can be done! Back to South Florida, we have plenty of scenarios we need to examine one-by-one until we identify the issue. After all, we are not the first people on earth to use a Wifi connection between a boat and a command center. The use of this connection is innovative but this technology has been available for a while. The long-range Wifi antenna-router system we used has a range of about 7-miles which is way more than what we need for our expedition. The Wifi antenna-router was mounted directly on our powerboat. We used a pole to maintain it above us but it might have been too low. Using the masthead of a sailboat might solve the issue. This antenna-router is supposed to capture Wifi signals from hotspots on shore, connecting boaters to the internet via Ethernet cable running from the antenna to a receiver or computer. This bridging process is what we call a PoE (Power over Ethernet). Connection speed for Wifi antenna-router depends on the quality of the Wifi connection on shore which was managed by our second team. The connection was successfully tested and was fast enough for sending/receiving Voice/video data from the boat. We are also going to contact the manufacturer of the antenna and troubleshoot the issue with their help. "Failure is not an option!"

We are now in Safety Harbor in the bay of Tampa, preparing our first experiment at sea. We have been working tirelessely over the last two days. This is going to be another short night but we are making good progress, one step at a time. This area is pefect to test our long-range wireless communication system. It works great on paper but we still need to test it in real-life conditions. We are loading a rental powerboat with our gear and equipment while a second team is setting up an improvized command center. If you live in the Tampa area, come early tomorrow morning to the marina in Safety Harbor to join us.

Non-Invasive survey of the legendary Spanish ship the Urca de Lima In order to establish a proven methodology allowing underwater archaeologists and conservation specialists the possibility to realize a survey of a shipwreck combining the OpenROV platform with innovative techniques such as Photogrammetry and 3D modelling, we are going to customize the ROV and conduct a test on an existing wreck site and then compare the results with existing data. High-resolution photographs, and 3D reconstructions can help us monitoring the condition of preserved areas and protected sites. The information collected and analyzed can be used as the basis for further investigations led by local or national institutions in charge of Heritage Conservation. Using digital photographs, we can easily create 3D-models of an archaeological site. After taking hundred of pictures of a site combined with a georeferred measurement system, we process them with a special software to obtain point cloud data. The software identifies the tie points between the images and generates a global orthophoto which can be manipulated in 3 dimensions. OpenROV will have to be modified to carry a high-resolution camera pointing to the seabed and controlled remotely to take one picture every 5 seconds. The high-res camera would have to be placed below the hull of the ROV. Ideally, for better results, the route will be planned and the ROV should be able to follow it autonomously. The Urca de Lima was part of the famous Spanish treasure fleet that sank on the coasts of Florida during the hurricane of 1715. The Urca de Lima, a Dutch-built vessel of 305-ton that was first called Santisima Trinidad got its nickname due to its storage capabilities and it was also name after its owner, Don Miguel de Lima. The Spanish treasure fleet was led by Capitan General Don Juan de Ubilla. In Havana, Ubilla's fleet was joined by the South American squadron of Antonio de Echeverz. The royal convoy was composed by five ships of the New Spain fleet (led by Ubilla), six of the Tierra Firme fleet (led by Echervez), and by one French merchant ship which was detained in Havana so it could not reveal the location and the departure date of the treasure fleet to French privateers. The trip was delayed and despite the peak of the hurricane season, the new assembled fleet of eleven vessels set sail from Cuba on July 24th, carrying 14 million pesos' worth of treasure and cargo. The plan was to sail along the East coast of Florida and rode the Gulf Stream until present-day Cap Canaveral and then cross the Atlantic Ocean, until they reach Spain. On July 30th, the treasure fleet gets hit by a violent hurricane and the ships are pushed onto the shallow reefs. In a matter of hours, every single ship (besides the French merchant ship, the Grifon) has been destroyed, more than 1,000 lives were lost and about 1,500 people survived and were able to made it to shore, spreaded over 30 miles of inhospitable lands. Despite the strenght of the hurricane, the ship was relatively intact. Unlike other ships from the treasure fleet, the Urca de Lima carried no royal treasure but vanilla, chocolate, sassafras, incense... and private chests of silver and gold. The survivors were able to recover some food and supplies from the ship allowing them to sustain themselves until troops arrived 31 days later. The Spanish sent troops to salvage the ship but then they burned it to the waterline to conceal its position from pirates and looters. The Spanish were able to recover much of the treasure and other goods from the 1715 and the 1733 fleets that were both destroyed by hurricanes. In July 1716, the salvage operation led by the Spanish resulted in the recovery of 5 million pesos. However, the famous pirates, Henry Jannings and Charles Vane were able to discover the location of the Spanish salvage camp and the Urca de Lima. They attacked the camp with 300 men and returned to Port Royal (Jamaica) with the equivalent of 350,000 pesos in silver and gold. The sunken ships were then forgotten until the 20th century when most of them were discovered by the first modern treasure hunters in 1928. Once the site discovered, treasure hunters started recovering artefacts. While they obtained salvage permits from the State of Florida, they did not use proper archaeological techniques and much evidence that could have provided some valuable information about the ship and the treasure fleet has been destroyed. In 1984. the State of Florida stopped issuing salvage permits and began enacting laws to protect historical shipwrecks. The wreck is located near Fort Pierce, about 1,000 yards North of Pepper Beach and became Florida's first Underwater Archaeological Preserve in 1987. In 2001 the site was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic PLaces. The site is marked by an underwater plaque (N 27 30.321 W 080 17.976). It is the only surviving example of an "Urca". The wreck site lies in 10-15 feet of water, approximatively 200 yards from shore. Over time, the wreck that is mainly made of wood, has been destroyed by waves and shipworms but some important parts of the ship are still lying on the seabed. Ballast stones are scattered all around, grain of the wood timbers and planks can also be seen. Unfortunately, its cannons have been removed by treasure hunters but five replicas made of concrete have been placed South from the wreck (N 27 30.311 W 080 17.959). An anchor from another 1715 wreck has also been added (N 27 30.313 W 080 17.978). The original four cannons and the anchor are now on display around the city of Fort Pierce.The site is perfect for our expedition. A rental apartment complex is located a few hundred feet from the beach. This is where we are going to install our command center and from where we will try to remotely control the ROV. Note #1: If you are planning to visit this site, please remember the following: - Anchor only at a the mooring buoy placed at the site. - Display a "divers down" flag. - No spear fishing is allowed within 100 feet of the site. - Any unauthorized disturbance, excavation, or removal of artifacts is strictly prohibided. Please help keep the site intact for others. - "Take only photos and leave only bubbles." Note #2: Exhibits including artefacts from the 1715 treasure fleet can be seen at the following locations: - Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee - McLarty Treasure Museum, Melbourne Beach - St Lucie County Historical Museum, Fort Pierce Note #3: The Urca de Lima, painting by William Trotter

Go big or go home! Getting our sailing certification with an offshore sailing school in the New England/Nova Scotia area.

Completing our set of tools as per the bills of materials for OpenROV 2.6. For those of you who've already built their ROVs, any feedback/recommendations regarding some of the products from the bill of materials?

Planning, planning, planning... This is our master plan and it is a bit ambitious but it is such a great opportunity for us to start testing new human-machine interfaces. The technology is available, it works on paper, we just have to "make it happen". OpenExplorer is a great tool and a great source of inspiration. We love the idea of deploying a command center at shore and being able to operate the ROV from a long distance using long-range wireless transmitters. Since we should be able to control the ROV from a ground station, why not trying to interface the ROV with something more immersive than a joystick? Of course, I am glad that all these years playing video games are finally going to be applied to something interesting but why not trying something else? When we use Google Earth for our expeditions, we now manipulate the interface with gesture control systems or even with eye-tracking. Our team was able to create a program to control a small quadcopter with a gesture control system (LEAP motion) and we have been experimenting eye-tracking capabilities since 2005. Controlling the ROV with your own eyes while you seat comfortably at home would be such an amazing and immersive experience. Potentially, with the development of wireless ROVs and with a better autonomy, you could literraly dive and explore oceans from anywhere in the world. This is worth trying, it opens so many possibilities. Even better, what if you could control the ROV with your... mind!? You no longer "operate" the ROV, you ARE the ROV. Once again, the technology is available, we just need to figure out the code to connect the whole thing together. We will use a neuroheadset from Emotiv (another very promising startup company) and we'll see how far we can go with this project. If you live in Florida and want to join us, please feel free to contact us (leave your email address in the comments).

We've reached our first milestone. We recommend anyone who is planning to operate a boat in order to take their OpenROV offshore to take a class with the Coast Guards. Even if you know how to operate a boat, the content of this class is very refreshing and there is always something new to learn. Next steps: Sailing & powerboat lessons in Massachussets and in the Gulf of Mexico, and we also need to start assemblating the ROVs.

Safety first! Hopefully, we'll never have to use them but considering the number or boating accidents occuring in Florida, we just went shopping and purchased the following items: - PFDs (inflattable type III for coastal operations and type I for offshore expeditions) - Fire extinguishers (for type A, B & C fires) - Sound producing device - Visual Distress Signals (flares) - VHF-FM Radio - Hand-operated pump - First-aid kit - We are now looking at EPIRB stations, emergency position-indicating radio beacons. Recreational boats are not required to carry EPIRBs but if you go offshore I think it is a must-have.

Climate change will damage 70 % of the world's coral by the year 2030. It's a problem in Florida, which is home to the only barrier reef along the continental U.S. We have already identified several areas where rare species of coral are unprotected and at risk. In order to assess the impact of pollution on these rare species, we'll choose two areas. One impacted by human pollution and another one where there is little to no human traffic. Let's start charting our way to get there. In today's day it is easy to find digital charts but for some reasons I find it much easier to prepare our navigation on paper. You can easily get your nautical charts here:

In order to reach our objectives, we need to be able to navigate along the coasts of Florida. Of course, we could find someone who already has a boat or even hire a captain, but that would be way too easy. This OpenROV project is such a great opportunity. We can learn so much while working on this project. We'll need a boat, for sure, but first thing first, we need to learn how to safely operate a vessel. Thanksfully, the Coast Guards of Florida are doing an amazing job, teaching new boaters like us the basic rules of navigation and seamanship. There a lot to learn but our instructors are also very knowledgeable about marine biology, shipwrecks and the coral reef which is going to be very helpful for us.

Who are we and what do we do? Drones are usually perceived as controversial modern war machines and lately as an alternative to deliver pizzas to packages. Drone technology has beem democratized by the rise of dozen of affordable and versatile multicopters, generating the development of new usages in areas where we first didn't expect them, archaeology being one of them. Aerial archaeolgy is not something new but using a manned aicraft is still, to this day, something very expensive. As serial web entrepreneurs and explorers, we have launched "A.D.A.P", the Aerial & Digital Archaeology & Preservation research group. With our team, We trains archaeologists and preservation specialists to use drones. This way, they can easily map existing sites with photographic and 3D representations, discover new sites and reduce the impact of their excavations on the environment, and efficiently protect world heritage sites with new monitoring capabilities. We are now excited to take on a new challenge with OpenRov. Underwater archeology can certainly benefits from the democratization of ROVs throughout such initiative. We aim at demonstrating the efficiency of OpenRov for complex underwater archaeological tasks and use this project as a vehicle to promote free workshops and trainings designed for preservation specialists. What the project is about? Growing up with Jules Vernes and Jacques Cousteau, our journey is inspired by this recollection of memories made with underwater adventures and exploration. Non-invasive technologies are a game changer. At a time when we thought that most of our planet has been already explored, innovation gives Sciences a new and exciting opportunity. It is as if the era of exploration just started over... There are thousands of historical shipwrecks around the coast of Florida. However, only a few are protected by the Shipwreck Preserves Program. After carefully selecting historical shipwrecks from different eras in non-protected areas, we'll explore the sites, survey the site location and collect data using multiple sensors. As the Florida Keys also host the most amazing coral reef in the world, we'll use this opportunity to realize a study showing the impact of human activities on endangered coral specifies that we believe shoud be protected by the State. From a technology perspective, we also plan to combine the OpenROV with a UAV but we'll developp this topic in another post. How can you help? This project like every other project we are involved with is based on the principles of collaboration and knowledge management. Wether you are an expert in marine biology, underwater archaelogy, or an engineer, someone who is also building and experimenting ROV technology with OpenROV or simply someone who is interested in our project, please share you thoughts with us. Your feedback is extremely valuable for us and we welcome new team members! Spread the word! The OpenROV project is currently giving away 5 ROVs to the projects with the top number or followers. Simply create your profile at and follow our project page. Then share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and invite your friends to follow us. OpenRov has made underwater exploration more affordable but when you need multiple units so you can experiment with them or use 2-3 of them in synch so you can survey a larger area faster, it can become very expensive and we will really welcome a new kit. This new kit will be equipped with Finally, let me emphasize how much the OpenRov project means for us and for what we believe in. This community is clearly revolutionnizing this industry and the impact on Sciences is more than significant. By following this page and by sharing our project with your friends and family, you also contribute to this community. Thanks for your help and please check this page often for updates. Ben

Expeditions Following