Ziphius! I want one (cheap underwater drone)

I just heard about a project in development, a “personal” surface or underwater drone, controllable from a tablet or smartphone. It sends a WiFi video signal and can be propelled up to 6MPH. Ziphius

The development appears to be funded by Kickstarter, and they are taking pledges right now with delivery of the product (if it is sufficiently funded) in July 2014.

The pledges are in the $200 range, and my guess is the final product will sell for around $300-400. Cameras like this have been available for years, but the cost has always been prohibitive for personal use.

It looks like it is designed around a Raspberry Pi, and will be marketed to hobbyists as a kit as well as completely assembled.

I can sure use this kind of gadget, as my “island” is surrounded by water and I love to do videos from odd places.

Is anyone else as excited as I am? I hope I’m not throwing caution to the wind, but does anyone know anything about Kickstarter? Is this like Kiva in some respects, or would it be wise to avoid it?

Seemed strictly above water in that video, i was hoping for a submarine :(.

They claim it can dive.

Musicat, Kickstarter is not exactly like Kiva but it seems pretty straightforward and transparent. Check out this link which explains Kickstarter pretty well (with all the pros & cons):

Hello Musicat,

I’m part of the team who’s producing Ziphius. I can assure you that, as Sorry but no cigar said, Kickstarter is totally safe to use.

Now, about Ziphius, unfortunately some reports have said that it can dive. For now, it can’t dive although we are planning to develop a drone who does in the future. Nevertheless, it has a camera tilt that goes above and below the water.

I’ll leave you the link to our F.A.Q.:

Thank you so much for your share and interest in our project :slight_smile:

Thanks, Ziphius, for coming to tell us about your project. I’ve already signed up to be one of your backers, so I hope this project actually comes to fruition as planned.

Underwater functions would greatly improve the attraction of this beast, even if it could only dive down a few feet. Carrying a beer to someone in the pool isn’t the most useful option to me!

Question: Does the camera tilt allow for pointing the lens almost straight down? That would enable bottom views of shallow areas, something I really want to do – to show wrecks, fish, rock formations, etc.

I hope you will stick around SDMB and not just be a one-time, drive-by poster. Spamming and advertising is frowned upon here, but we welcome useful information and communication from knowledgeable parties. Here’s hoping you are the latter!

Hello Musicat,

Thank you for your support! I’m not a frequent user of this forum. Our team tries to answer all questions spotted and that’s why I registered. I loved the title “Fighting ignorance”. It’s taking longer than we thought indeed. I’m planning to keep an eye on the discussions :slight_smile:

About your question: Yes it does. Actually, if you happen to follow our Facebook page or blog, we are uploading a video with some footage of Ziphius’ camera soon, where you can see exactly those things: the wrecks and the rock formations.

If you could share the project with your friends it would be awesome too!

Any other question, just ask.

Ziphius, please check your Private Messages.

We are now 7 days from funding for this project. Only $75,000 pledged yet we need $125,000 to make it work. If anyone is interested and is willing to pledge even a small amount (I believe you can do $99, but $200 will get you in the reservation line for a finished unit to be delivered next year), please check it out.

I have no experience with this kind of funding, but it looks like if they don’t get the necessary amount in time, the project won’t happen (and no one gets charged, either). I have no idea if the big money is waiting for the last minute like bidders do on eBay. Or maybe the main backers will restructure the marketing plan.

I want my Ziphius!

We did it hehe
Thanks a lot again!

(all you said was right Musicat, if we didn’t get to the goal, we wouldn’t get any money but fortuntately all went fine and great!)

Keep checking our kickstarter page for updates on the project.

Yes! I want my Ziphius! Can’t wait until next March.

I didn’t post about it before, but this thread caught my attention and resulted in me kicking in, so it accomplished that much, at least. :slight_smile:

So you’re the one who put it over the top! Thanks! :slight_smile:

Maybe we can compare notes when we get our drones. I assume that’s what you signed up for, an advance unit? And are you a videographer, or do you want one to carry drinks across the pool?

Mostly, it seemed like a cool toy. I’m no videographer, but I will probably see if I can get any decent videos of ducks and other wildlife on the ponds near my house. When I’m not just horsing around with it, trying to entertain people, that is. I have a notion that it might be fun to build something onto it that will let me display messages, but we’ll see how ambition and weight/balance issues play out.

I also kind of want a set of little unpowered mini-Ziph shells that I can put on a tow-line behind it, so it can have ziphlings.

How would it work underwater, if (as I’ve read in Tom Clancy novels) radio waves don’t penetrate water? Perhaps they penetrate enough to permit shallow-water operation?

The current model doesn’t dive (there was a blurb I saw somewhere that said it did, but that was incorrect). So even though it can position the camera to see below the surface, the body is above.

I understand they are working on a diving model, which will require an additional motor at least. How they plan on communicating with it, I don’t know. I guess the simplest way would be to set a dive pattern, turn off real-time communications for a short length of time until it surfaced, then transmit what it recorded underwater.

A cable to a float.

I realize that is possible (and the way some deep-diving submarines communicate with the mother ship), but it seems like a step in the wrong direction if you start with a semi-autonomous boat that can talk to a tablet wirelessly. If the technology isn’t available or affordable for real-time communication, I think I’d rather have planned, intermittent communication, not a wire.

The float carnivorousplant is talking about isn’t to a wired controller. It’s just a floating wifi antenna. The drone would probably tow it on a reel (like the ziphlings I mentioned) until you told it to dive, then it would leave it at the surface to relay signals.

It would certainly work, but it does present some potential problems. In anything but a pool, I would be concerned about entanglement, for one thing. Keeping the shell watertight with an antenna port through it would also need to be considered. (Come to think of it, a magnetically attached line with an inductive interface might address both problems–a breakaway line and no breach in the hull.)

It’s entirely appropriate that I revive this thread, and here’s why.

The product was promised to be delivered in March, 2014. It was not. The only thing that was delivered was excuses. Update notices have been few and far between, mostly concentrating on the difficulty of manufacturing and promising many upgrades and added features. “Just wait, you’ll love it!”

I’ve been pressing the spokesperson, who I think is the same as Zipius in this thread, to supply a new ship date that they can stick to, but that hasn’t been forthcoming. Now she says it “won’t be this year,” and they need additional funding to complete the project.

This wonderful idea is now becoming an empty promise and short delays are becoming long ones. Either this is a scam or a horribly mismanaged project and I’ve lost interest. How does one get a refund from a Kickstarter project? Is that possible?