Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles

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Used by Discovery Channel to Capture Footage of Sharks; Unlimited

VideoRay Inc. announced today the VideoRay Pro, a new portable-power, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for underwater video. Operate VideoRay Pro from a boat or dock to captures a clear view of sea life. Feeding live video to a monitor on the deck, VideoRay moves stealthily through the water like many sea creatures at up to 2 knots. Weighing just eight pounds and starting at $14,000 USD, VideoRay costs a fraction of the price of other ROVs and is comparable in cost to underwater video equipment, lights, and still camera.

VideoRay Pro’s standard camera is Color CCD with a resolution from 350 to 500 plus lines. It throws a minimum illumination of 5 lux and outputs PAL or NTSC video. An optional high-resolution camera offers Color CCD and a resolution of 450 black and white or 570 color lines. An optional rear-facing camera can capture black and white footage in PAL or NTSC. Text or graphical video overlay (Genlock) of compass, depth, and date/time are also available.

To use VideoRay Pro, simply drop the compact VideoRay sub and tether into the water and start exploring from the safety of the boat or dock. Because VideoRay can sustain in temperatures ranging from 32 to 122 degrees F or 0-40 degrees C for hours, it stays underwater long after humans would have to surface. Because it does not create bubbles, it does not scare away sea life. VideoRay is much easier to handle and more convenient than other ROVs, which require large generators, special transport, and more space on the vessel.

Similar in operation to a computer video game, VideoRay Pro has a control box with a joystick and simple controls. For stability and study, the auto-depth feature lets VideoRay Pro stay at the desired operating depth. This lets the user focus on objects underwater instead of on operation of VideoRay Pro. With two optional manipulators, VideoRay Pro can pick up and retrieve objects with agility. Manipulators are offered in multiple jaw shapes and sizes and can be mounted to the VideoRay sub, transporters, or extendible boom poles.

Proven with Discovery film crews and scientists

Run by electricity, the ROV is a boon to the underwater world – for photographers, science, search and rescue, commercial projects, dam inspections, fisheries, and recreational divers. The crew of scientists and film producers on a Discovery Channel filming mission were impressed with the performance of VideoRay 2000, the first model released in August 1999, which is the base model for the VideoRay Pro.

“The VideoRay gave me unprecedented access to the underwater world which helped tremendously in shooting Sharks of the Great White North,” said Larry Bambrick, a producer with Discovery Channel Canada. “Its ability to go deep in extremely frigid waters let me decide whether it was worth sending down the divers. When you’re working in a hostile underwater environment like the high north, having the VideoRay act as a second pair of eyes is invaluable.” Bambrick’s latest project is a one-hour documentary “Sharks of the Great White North” which focuses on sharks found off the coasts of Canada. He used the VideoRay to help shoot underwater footage in Baffin Island, Nova Scotia and Alaska.

“During the expedition to Baffin Island diving in search of the giant Greenland Shark, I was truly impressed with the versatility of the VideoRay,” said Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “This is an ROV that is small enough to travel by air as personal luggage, compact enough for one person to deploy and operate, and quiet enough to allow you to sneak up on big game underwater. It can dive all day in minus 2 degree water that has me frozen in 40 minutes in a drysuit, meanwhile sending back video feed that I can use for research and broadcast purposes. It is rugged enough to take the punishment of air travel and hard field use.”

Said Aaron Fisk Ph.D, Research Scientist, National Water Research Institute, “VideoRay provides excellent video quality, is extremely easy to control in the water, is small and non-invasive, very portable, and only requires a minimal power supply. It is an excellent platform for doing short or long term monitoring of most aquatic systems, including the Arctic, and eliminates many of the limitations of using SCUBA divers. Now scientists can observe the aquatic environment without getting wet.”

The average adult can understand basic operation in five minutes. For greater control, four hours of learning time are recommended. Just 14 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 8.5 inches high, VideoRay Pro is contained in two rugged, waterproof Pelican cases that are easily carried by hand.