Live Internet Control (Trident Kickstarter Update #4)

Original post : October 5, 2015

Quick Summary: The Trident will be the first drone that allows for telerobotic remote control over the internet. You can be among the first beta-testing pilots.

Alt Text
Image credit: NOAA, NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program

This is a photo of the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island. This is the shore-based command station for the E/V Nautilus - Dr. Bob Ballard's ship that continually roams the earth on a mission of exploration and discovery. Dr. Ballard is best known for discovering the RMS Titanic, but his more important contribution to ocean science and exploration has been the pioneering of telepresence as a tool for exploration.

Dr. Ballard's idea was simple. Instead of filling a research vessel with all the scientists needed for a given expedition, simply send the minimal amount of crew needed to sea and beam the video feed from the ship and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) back to shore and out onto the internet. With this system, hundreds of scientists and archaeologists could take part on any given expedition. The results of his efforts have been revolutionary for the way ocean science gets done.

We're on the edge of the next chapter of the telepresence revolution. In addition to the big ships, like the E/V Nautilus and the E/V Okeanos Explorer (operated by NOAA), we're looking at the prospect of tens of thousands of underwater drones being sent around the world to citizen explorers like you. Of course, we won't be going as deep as Dr. Ballard (yet), but we'll certainly find something interesting by having so many more eyes underwater.

With Trident, we're taking this idea even further. We're going beyond just remote viewing of distant robots, to actual remote control. One of the features of Trident will be to - if you want - allow community members to take control and pilot robots from anywhere around the world.

The prototypes we've created of this feature are hugely exciting, and will only be getting better by the time that the Trident ships. To highlight this important feature, we're announcing a new pledge level: for $10, you can be added to the pool of beta-test pilots of this remote control feature. Meaning, every time we’re testing the feature in the OpenROV lab, we’ll send out an email and invite you to log in and participate.

(Important note: everyone who's already pledged above the $10 level will also be able to participate in the beta-pilot program.)

Imagine a world where thousands of these underwater drones are exploring the oceans and you can log on and join them at any time. That's the future you're actually helping to create by backing this project. And we're so grateful to be a part of that adventure with you!