Archelon ROV

The Archelon ROV is a low-cost, environmentally friendly Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that helps to alleviate marine contamination.

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AscendTech 4-H Robotics Club, a team of high school students, designed and manufactured Archelon, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV)  capable of streamlining commerce as well as benefiting the health and safety of the general public.

Archelon features powerful, advanced image- processing software as well as a robust, modular, economical design. With innovative payload tools and operated by eight bilge pump motors, the Archelon ROV is perfect for operating in precarious conditions to address the issues on our sea ports and water fronts.


Problem Statement

Maritime trade is an integral part of the United States economy. Unfortunately, with all of the activity and vessel traffic, the ports are not immune to accidents and pollution. Chemicals and rogue cargo fall into the water, and many thousands of dollars are spent yearly simply trying to clean up after these activities.

Harsh ocean environments, severe weather conditions, and other factors render certain diving expeditions to be dangerous ventures. As such, the maritime industries are in need of safe and reliable methods to help manage their work. Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are the perfect robotic applications to make commerce more efficient as well as to protect health and safety. With powerful functionality and efficiency, ROVs are the superior technology to apply to these underwater situations. Although ROVs vary in complexity, all have visual devices that can document sights of the environment. ROVs additionally can have supplementary end effectors, such as measuring devices and claws. These devices are imperative for scientific activities in environments that would otherwise be harmful to humans, ranging from mapping coordinates of hazardous cargo containers to assessing the contamination of sediment areas. Not only are ROVs a crucial part of the maritime trade industry, but they are also essential to protecting public health and safety by removing hazardous chemicals and materials. It is because of this robotic application, as well as other similar applications, that we are able to ensure the safety, health, and commerce of the everyday American citizen.

Solving The Problem

Archelon is designed with the purpose of streamlining commerce as well as benefiting the health and safety of the general public. Archelon features powerful and advanced image-processing software as well as a robust, modular, and economical design. As a lightweight and compact vehicle, the Archelon ROV is perfect for operating in precarious conditions, which is ideal for sea ports and water fronts. A collection of these ROVs could be used to accomplish underwater tasks that would be dangerous for humans, thus saving numerous lives. Each ROV is capable of moving objects, taking agar samples, shining lights, and completing a variety of other tasks. With these abilities, the Archelon ROV is capable of improving public health, the cleaning the underwater environment, and bolstering maritime trade. 

The World-Changing Underwater Robot

The Archelon ROV has many aspects that make it revolutionary. From its inception to its implementation, the design contains features that make it safe, affordable, and reliable. The ROV is designed to be extensible, with different modular attachments giving it the requisite flexibility to complete various tasks. For example, the claw ordinarily acts as a gripper but can be combined with the custom agar sampler to become a very powerful tool for assessing the health of underwater communities. Even the agar sampler itself is designed with multiple head attachments to allow for optimization during use. This philosophy of modularity and extensibility is also applied to the rest of the ROV, resulting in swappable camera mounts, adjustable ballasts, and movable motors. This also makes the ROV much easier to create at home or on...

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MATE 2017 Documentation.pdf

ROV documentation

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.86 MB - 07/24/2017 at 02:42


MATE 2017 Poster.pdf

Our poster that was presented at the MATE 2017 regional ROV competition

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.73 MB - 07/24/2017 at 12:17


Archelon ROV Presentation.pdf

Presentation given at the 2017 NJ Tech Council Event "Emerging and Disruptive Technologies" at Bell Labs, Holmdel

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.00 MB - 07/24/2017 at 02:43


Agar 1.ipt

ipt - 249.50 kB - 07/24/2017 at 12:32


Agar Base.ipt

ipt - 331.50 kB - 07/24/2017 at 12:32


View all 26 files

  • 1 × Teensy 3.2 Microcontroller development board
  • 50 × 3 Way 3 Pin PCB Screw Used to connect wires to circuit
  • 1 × Cast Acrylic Hollow Tube Used to house electronics underwater
  • 1 × Uxcell SD28 28mm 7 Pin Square Waterproof Aviation Connector Socket Waterproof IP68
  • 1 × Waterproof Sealant Bottomside electronics tube penetration connectors

View all 28 components

  • Finished ROV!

    Rishi Salwi07/24/2017 at 03:10 0 comments

    We finally finished the Archelon ROV!

    It has the following capabilities:

    • Has 8 motors to...
      • go up/down
      • move forward/backward
      • turn
    • Grab and release objects with claw
    • Collect agar for analysis
    • Send live camera feedback to human controller
    • Can be controlled with web interface

    It can solve the following problems

    • Help with maritime trade
    • Clean contaminated areas
    • Robot can accomplish tasks underwater previously done by humans

  • Topside Electronics

    Rishi Salwi07/24/2017 at 03:01 0 comments

    The topside electronics is above the water and gives the human the ability to receive feedback from cameras and sensors and respond appropriately with a web-based interface. It has the following capabilities:

    • Receive input from 3 cameras
    • Communicate with bottomside
    • Send signals to and receive feedback from web interface on tablet/laptop
    • Monitor voltage and current usage
    • Use fuses to prevent short circuits

  • Bottomside Electronics

    Rishi Salwi07/24/2017 at 01:22 0 comments

    The electronics that go in the acrylic tube that goes underwater are called bottomside electronics. Their function is to control the motors, any sensors, and any attachments. The bottomside electronics need to be able to control the motor's direction and speed. To accomplish this difficult task we used two monster moto boards that control the 8 motors in pairs. They receive a PWM input from an Arduino Mega and 12 volts from the tether. The robot also uses a teensy for communication. The underwater electronics are also capable of controlling the servo motor and the stepper motor that turns the servo motor. 

  • Claw Design/Modifications

    Kaishawn Williams07/22/2017 at 16:51 0 comments

    In previous years, AscendTech's predecessors would design and build their own claw out of various materials to serve as an end effector for our ROVs. Last year, our developmental team decided to explore a different route for the claw, as the previous designs were frequently bulky and unreliable. Instead of building a claw from scratch, our build team instead modified a commercial claw that was guaranteed to work by its manufacturers. Our modified claw uses a 500 GPH bilge pump motor connected to a waterproof servomotor to operate the claw. This modification allows the claw to move on 360 degrees in rotation, a feature not included in the commercial claw's design.

View all 4 project logs

  • 1
    Building the Frame
    1. Create two polypropylene wings
      1. These wings are manufactured with 0.9525 centimeter thick polypropylene sheets cut into a rectangular shape with a semi-circle edges on one side and tear-shaped edges on the other. 
      2. Two “D” shaped holes, one 12.7 centimeter hole in the center for the electronics tube, four 0.635 centimeter holes for the threaded rods securing the electronics tube, and four 1.27 centimeter (½”) holes for the PVC tubing are cut in each tube. The tubing is fed through the 1.27 cm holes, extending 7 cm from the wings on both sides. The pipes perpendicular to each other are all connected by PVC connectors, and are sealed with PVC cement to ensure a rigid bond on all the connections.
    2. The tubing is fed through the 1.27 cm holes, extending 7 cm from the wings on both sides.
    3. The pipes perpendicular to each other are all connected by PVC connectors, and are sealed with PVC cement to ensure a rigid bond on all the connections.
    4. Frame is finished!
  • 2
    Manufacturing the Aluminum End Cap

    1. Using this design, use a CNC milling machine to manufacture the aluminum endcap.  Attached are the Inventor files for the actual measurements of the aluminum end cap. 

  • 3
    Developing Surface Control Box and Electronics
    1. Find a 13.5” x 13” x 3.5” box made of durable yet flexible material (preferably plastic)
    2. Using the following SID (System Interconnected Diagram), lay out the surface electronics depending on the shape/size constraints of your surface control box (ONLY USE THE TOPSIDE ELECTRONICS PORTION OF THE SID)

    3. Cut holes and mount a voltmeter & ammeter on the cover of the surface control box 

    4. Cut a hole on the left side of the box for an IEC C14 male connector. Use hot glue/wood glue or some other strong adhesive to seal the connector in. 

    5. Cut 2 holes on the other side of the surface control box (right side) for XLR connector sockets, and similarly seal with your choice of adhesive. Cut another hole next to those about 0.75 in. in diameter - this is for the barrel connectors to power the underwater cameras on the ROV. Next to that, cut 3 holes about 0.5 in. in diameter for the RCA connectors for underwater camera feed. Finally, dremel a hole about 1 ⅜ in. in diameter to the very right, lining it with a PVC ring sealed to the box with hot glue. This allows for easy access for programming the Arduino Uno.

    6. Solder connections accordingly, and use appropriate screw sizes and lengths, velcro, zip ties, etc. to secure all your electrical components to the box.  

    And you should have yourself a nice surface control electronics box! 

View all 8 instructions

Enjoy this project?



EngineerAllen wrote 09/09/2017 at 20:51 point

looks expensive

have you heard of the silicon glue, or that waterproof glue you just dip your electronics into it and then it doesnt need any parts to keep stuff waterproof

  Are you sure? yes | no

nein wrote 10/21/2017 at 21:59 point

Hi! Yes we have heard. Our main issue with that is that the electronics we use can break, and during testing we often find design flaws that are not visible until it is in operation. We needed a resealable method so that we can replace broken parts and modify the electronics easily. This method with the aluminum end cap actually worked quite well (except when we did not completely tighten one of the screws :(  ).

  Are you sure? yes | no

EngineerAllen wrote 01/21/2018 at 23:50 point

cant make mistakes in engineering!

especially when you work on top secret government projects, rule #1 is don't make a mistake :D

  Are you sure? yes | no

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