Two engineer friends from New Zealand shared a passion for underwater photography but were disappointed in the ROV (remotely operated vehicles) technology available at the time. The felt it had stagnated since the early 1990s. When one was forced to give up diving in 2016, the duo set out to create a solution for capturing high-quality imagery. The Boxfish Luna ROV houses both Sony’s a1 and a7S III cameras, making it capable of capturing up to 8K footage.
The ROV’s dimensions are 71 x 44 x 35 cm (28 x 17 x 14 in) and it weighs 24 kg (53 lbs.) with a salt water ballast installed. Operating it requires two people, at least, and it can be set up within 10 minutes. It can descend up to 500 meters with an optional 1000 meter range for an additional cost. 8 3D-vectored thrusters give it a full ‘6-degrees-of-freedom’ for movement in any direction.
The monitor offers up 4K uncompressed footage on a 17-inch UHD screen with what the company claims is ‘near-zero latency.’ Because the ROV can house both Sony’s a1 and a7S III cameras, users can respectively capture either 50MP or 12MP stills, full-frame up to 8K 10-bit 4:2:0 4K/30p video or full-frame 8K 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/120p video footage. Auto and manual focus mode is available along with exposure modes including Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual mode, and Program Auto mode.
Two additional 180º FOV navigation cameras are mounted on the vehicle to aid in situational awareness. A compass and dual IMU is integrated as well. The Boxfish Luna uses multiple 100Wh batteries that allows it up to 15 hours of operation. Two 8500 lumen dimmable standard lights mounted on the arms of the vehicle give users the ability to create optimal lighting in any environment.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are useful for accessing narrow or hazardous spaces so people don’t need to take unnecessary risks. Box Luna’s founders envisioned a solution that helps divers avoid the same types of potential pitfalls underwater. They also believe the ROV will be less disruptive to marine species. More information can be found on Boxfish Research’s official website.