Seawolf sub takes your GoPro on an undersea voyage
While there are plenty of aerial drones that show us our surroundings from up in the air, there are far fewer remote-control devices that let us see what's lurking beneath the surface of the water. Although the Aquabotix Hydroview is one, at around US$3,000 it certainly isn't cheap. While still not inexpensive, the newest version of the TTRobotix Seawolf is considerably less pricey – partly because it incorporates the user's existing GoPro actioncam.
Not unlike the company's previously-released Neptune SB-1, the 7.7-kg (17-lb) Seawolf uses a pump-driven ballast system to perform static dives. This means that it can descend and ascend on the spot, as compared to dynamic-dive subs that must be moving forward in order to so, as they rely on the hydrodynamic force of the water flowing over their wing-like diving planes to go up or down.
The user's GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 sits in a clear acrylic nose cone built into the Seawolf's high-impact ABS hull, which can dive to a maximum depth of 10 meters (33 ft). Its maximum forward speed is 1.8 knots (3.3 km/h or 2 mph). While TTRobotix has yet to respond to our request for more information, a report on CNET states that the sub's 5,000-mAh battery should be good for 50 minutes of use.
There are actually three versions of the new Seawolf.
For use in radio-signal-absorbing salt water, the F13 model uses a 30-m (98-ft) cable to receive commands from the remote control unit and to relay real-time video from the GoPro to a shoreside 8-inch LCD screen. The "wireless" F11 and F12 models, by contrast, forgo the 30-m sub-to-shore tether for a 10-m cable that runs from the sub to a Wi-Fi transmitter located in a buoy floating on the surface. While the sub is presumably controlled by radio signals traveling through the less-dense fresh water, the Wi-Fi transmitter is used to send the GoPro's video signal to either the user's smartphone (F11 model) or a receiver-equipped LCD screen on the remote (F12).
Pricing for the Seawolf should reportedly be starting at US$999, with availability expected to begin in August.