“I’ve spent time in streams and lakes; I’ve stepped on enough hooks and felt enough fish against my leg to know there’s more underwater than meets the eye. Now, I’m determined to find it.”
Danny Vessels and two other Hope College alumni have banded together to develop one of the first underwater drones for personal use. The Fathom One drone, available for purchase at $499 following a Kickstarter campaign launched over the summer. My personal communication with them over the past few years is detailed below and summarized on their website.
The drone incorporates the human desire for adventure, 3D printing design and engineering, and qualities of Web 2.0 to create a product that looks and moves like a fish, handled directly from your smartphone or device.
Controlled by an app, a cable cord attached to the device allows the drone to move within reach and maintain control of the drone for the user. If the drone were to lose battery or malfunction, it would be easily retrieved from the water.
Starting with an entrepreneurship program during their undergraduate career, Danny, Matt and John spent two years creating a model for the drone after agreeing their Michigan summers spent on the lake growing up were full of dreams of shipwrecks, mermaids, and other underwater adventures. Most summers, an artifact would wash up on the shores near their cottages.
While the Fathom One drone fulfills this dream of discovering what lies below the surface, customer surveys also conclude there are opportunities for education, fishing, and marina use.
School teachers in Alaska agree an underwater drone would revolutionize the way students learn about the ocean and the creatures within it. With the capacity for the drone to work at-freezing temperatures, even during cold weather students would be able to experience the ocean live in the winter.
Fishermen’s reviews conclude that the capacity to view water in live-time would help with discovering fish and areas that would allow for fish to thrive.
Use in marinas would be applicable to keep humans out of the water in open AC environments. In the case of lost keys or boat accessibility, employees could place the drone in the water to locate the missing items or diagnose the issue of the boat.
Once the product is launched in Summer 2017, more opportunities will arise to determine uses for the drone, and more innovative qualities will become evident as time passes.
Their video provides more detail in regard to their research and customer base.