Global Ocean Design Nanolander Helps WIN X Tech Prize!
The SubC Imaging prototype 360-degree camera mounted in a modified Nanolander looks back at the ship and crew as it is deployed off San Diego. Team “Real Deep Conservation VR” won the Grand Prize in the Conservation X Tech Prize for an easy-to-use deep-sea camera trap for filming in virtual reality.
We reported last issue that we helped modify and adapt one of our Nanolanders to be used by one of the twenty Conservation X Tech prize challenge teams, chosen from an initial pool of 84 candidate teams. Our contributions mattered, and “Real Deep Conservation VR” was successful in their quest, and won the Challenge Grand Prize!
Alex Dehgan, CEO and Co-Founder of Conservation X Labs said, “We were amazed by the progress of all of the 20 Finalist teams during the prototyping period of this competition. The top three projects were truly able to maximize the $3500 Finalist grant to make incredible progress on their prototypes. The finalists each demonstrated how they have created financially sustainable and impactful projects that Conservation X Labs is proud to support into the future.”
Conservation X Tech Team “Real Deep Conservation VR” leader Matt Mulrennan (Venice, CA) said, “The deep-sea is facing significant conservation challenges such as large bottom trawling nets, strip mining tailings dumped into rivers, and oil spills destroying fragile deep-sea corals. Meanwhile new challenges are emerging, such as mining hydrothermal vents for minerals that threaten those unique deep-sea communities. This team believes we need inexpensive and easy to deploy tools for conservationists to broadly explore deep-sea habitats to understand and protect them.”
Kevin Hardy, Global Ocean Design, (San Diego, CA) designer and builder of the Nanolander, said, “We wanted to demonstrate the disruptive potential of this class of undersea vehicle, one that can be hand launched from a small vessel out of a port of convenience, with anchors locally sourced, that can operate at any depth for extended periods of time, carrying sensors down and samples back up. All of these together make this a very affordable way to do marine science. Now, any institution in any country can access the depths of the sea adjacent to their coastline in pursuit of their own research.”
Chad Collet, CTO SubC Imaging, (Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada) supplied the one-off 360-degree VR camera, said, “The scope was clear and the energy was contagious. It is easy to get excited about ocean conservation when you are working with intelligent people towards a common goal. I am truly looking forward to the next stage of our system. Lowering the barrier for deep-ocean research in the visible spectrum by developing a lower-cost benthic camera trap, with a stretch goal of filming the colossal squid.”
DOV SUTPHEN, the Nanolander used in the Conservation X Tech Prize, arrives back on the surface after anchor release by acoustic command at a depth of 620m.
360 Deep-Sea Footage from 2 Dives may be viewed here.