Our Newest Innovation

The most advanced ROV to be produced by Jesuit Robotics, Lazarus is a multifunctional ROV that utilizes SMART tools, our new IP camera system, custom-made electronics, and innovative software to accomplish a variety of tasks with ease. With over a hundred hours of component level unit testing, Lazarus is prepared to complete a task consistently.  

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Design process

All of our ROV designs begin on the whiteboard with a sketch. We then transfer our hand drawn sketches, into detailed CAD files. Our team decides whether we should machine the part in house or outsource the manufacturing. This year, we designed our ROV with portability and serviceability in mind. Compact and lightweight, it can reliably perform a variety of tasks in the Port of Long Beach. Modular design makes Lazarus highly field serviceable. 

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TCU/Tether

Our new Tether Control Unit, or TCU, is the communications and power hub between the ROV and control computers. The TCU houses safety and communication devices while providing vehicle status information to the operators. The TCU conveys information such as ROV status, temperature, and other telemetry. The TCU's case allows for easy transportation, setup, and reliability due to its durable and contained structure. Lazarus' lightweight tether is designed to transport necessary signals, power, and pneumatics from the TCU to the ROV. The tether is wrapped in a flexible but durable sheathing that protects the lines within. Using strain protection on our TCU prevents unwanted stress on cables running down to the ROV.

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Software

Lazarus’ control system consists of two platforms – topside software running on a Raspberry Pi, and bottomside software running on embedded micro-controllers. This year the topside structure is running on a web server using Node.js. The bottom side software communicates with topside in real time via User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Lazarus has four micro controllers, ROV1, ROV2, ROV3, ROV4, that each have independent code that allows them to complete individual tasks. ROV1 receives data from topside and relays information to the other micro controllers. ROV1 also controls thrusters and video switching. ROV2 reads data from various sensors within Lazarus. ROV3 reads telemetry data, including the IMU and controls the multicolored LED Display. ROV4 controls task specific tools. 

This year Lazarus has a completely redesigned topside platform, written entirely in JavaScript and HTML running on a Raspberry Pi and operated using a Logitech joystick. The topside program features multiple intuitive interfaces for each operator and a brand-new heads up display. These additions allow operators to easily access information on the ROV and improve the pilots operational efficiency. 


Electronics

Lazarus’ electronics systems were designed with performance, serviceability, and safety as priorities. Calculating power consumption for each device allow Lazarus to operate with maximum efficiency.

Continuing our multi-year electronics design evolution, all microprocessing controller boards were designed and assembled by Rovotics rather than purchasing commercial micro controllers. Each custom microcontroller contains all components necessary for its specialized function, eliminating the need for more costly and bulky stacked Arduino shields. The main microcontroller board handles critical functions such as thrusters, camera switching, communication with daughter boards, and ethernet communication to topside. Subcritical functions are divided between three modular expansion cards, minimizing thruster, tool, and sensor response times. The modular expansion card system cuts down on troubleshooting and repair time, as circuit boards can be replaced easily and inexpensively. To enable a flexible camera system with improved pilot perspective two pilot and six task cameras are controlled using a custom video switching board.

The electronics connect to the subframe and tether using a combination of wet-mateable SubConn and permanent Blue Robotics connectors, which have both proven reliable on our previous designs. Blue Robotics connectors are also reasonably priced, making them an ideal choice for purchase over in-house manufacturing wherever a permanent connection is needed.

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Thrusters

Lazarus is equipped with six thrusters in a vector configuration, giving the pilot omni-directional control. Four thrusters are mounted at 45 degree angles on the corners of the top deck, with two on the mid-plane for verticals. This allows for unobstructed water flow and gives the pilot very responsive controls during operations.

Lazarus utilizes T100 thrusters, which we found weigh less and are more cost effective then building our own thrusters. Each thruster was stress-tested for two hours to ensure proper thrust capabilities and compatibility with the ROV's voltage converters. 

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Tools

Pilot perspective and Specialized Mission Assist ROV Tool Technology, or SMART-Tech, guided our design process for all tools. We designed our camera system to enable the pilot to see both the mission tool and objective simultaneously, and all tools were designed to help the pilot easily engage with each objective in seconds.

Lazarus’s custom multifunctional gripper was designed to quickly and efficiently complete a variety of tasks. A pneumatic piston opens and closes the gripper’s jaw, and SMART-Tech custom cutouts adapt to different objects and hold them securely in place. A magnet on the jaw makes pulling the platform pin simple, and a dedicated camera gives the pilot a wide-angle view of the objective while keeping the tool in sight.

Our innovative valve-turner uses a three-pronged appendage to rotate the faucet. A SMART-Tech alignment cone and strategically placed camera help the pilot easily guide the tool onto the faucet, and the faceted design keeps it engaged even if the ROV shifts position. During underwater trials, we discovered that the cone can also be used to efficiently push the fountain locking mechanism open and closed. Our new, bayonet-sealed motor housing was reverse-engineered from the shaft seal design used on SeaBotix thrusters, and is one-third the size of our previous designs. The motor is available in a variety of RPM’s and torques, making the entire assembly adaptable to a wide range of applications.

Lazarus’ core sampler is placed near the ROV’s center of mass to allow for more precise alignment and maximum downward force, resulting in larger and more secure samples. The central location and overall design is the result of three years of development and testing after recognizing ways of improving upon past designs. A dedicated camera and SMART-Tech alignment cone assist the pilot in guiding the ROV into place directly over the middle of the sediment. The thin-wall stainless steel collection tube is oversized to gather samples larger than 150 ml, which are held in place via suction from a one-way check valve. The entire tool is easily detachable from the ROV via a twist mechanism with magnetic lock.     

Our harvester is a multifunctional tool designed to efficiently collect objects such as clams and beacons. A bottom shelf with a sloped edge uses hydrodynamic force to push objects into a cage. A swing gate operated by the gripper ensures objects are securely contained after collection.

A cool-white LED RFID activation light, RFID sensor, and red LED simulated raman spectrometer have been combined into a compact array centered at the front of the ROV to optimize pilot perspective. Each light is potted with clear epoxy in an aluminum heat sink to prolong diode life, and the cool-white LED also serves as a general purpose work light. To maintain simplicity and reduce cost, Lazarus features a single perspective camera to accurately align the RFID sensor array as well as the buoy marker.

The buoy marker securely attaches to a container holding high-risk cargo via the use of a magnet and custom carabiner. Once attached, a PVC coated nylon line unspools as the marker floats to the surface to clearly identify the container’s location.

The rebar tool efficiently moves rebar using a magnetic retrieval system and pneumatic release mechanism. A dedicated camera and SMART-Tech cone allow the pilot to quickly engage with the rebar. The tool itself serves as the fourth strut of the ROV,  decreasing weight and size without sacrificing rigidity.