As a senior thesis project at CSU Monterey Bay, I was the sole programmer and designer of a simulator based on an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). This project was created for a Marine Biology instructor, Dr. Steve Moore, to be a method of training middle-school students to pilot his ROV. The project simulated the web-based control interface, movement underwater, visibility factors, and oceanic effects felt when piloting the ROV.
Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV's) move about in the underwater realm. They give humans the ability to explore new worlds, uncover hidden shipwrecks, and discover unknown species. The underwater environment is entirely different from land. This ability is due to the vital components of ROV’s. They are created out of lightweight materials that can be easily powered by small motors. These motors push the ROV through water in any direction specified by the ROV operator. What would happen if a child is given the opportunity to pilot a real ROV? Without proper training, a child could easily damage its somewhat fragile components simply by trying to figure out how the controls work.
CSU Monterey Bay professor Dr. Steve Moore created a Remote Operated Vehicle called the ROVing Otter. Dr. Moore wanted to create an interactive learning experience for schoolchildren provided by an underwater ROV that could be hooked up to the Internet via wireless connection. However, giving children the chance to pilot a real ROV without any prior experience would cause numerous problems. If a child is able to practice using the controls before actually piloting the ROV, users will have the chance to know how the controls affect movement, how the ROV will act, and how the environment will be a factor in their piloting.
The objective of this project was to create, design, and implement a realistic 3D simulation of the actual ROVing Otter. This simulation has the same controls and interface as that used for the real Remote Operated Vehicle. However, since this is a simulation, the controls simulate an ROV travling through a realistic 3D underwater environment with a basic terrain structure, rocks, and sea life.