Matching the right tool with a compelling narrative. For David Lang, this was the ah-ha moment at OpenROV’s inception. “Tool plus narrative” provides an interesting lens to examine citizen science and, perhaps, a useful recipe for the development of new citizen science projects. A narrative is a way of embedding a research question within the larger context of why it matters.– AWA

Excerpt: In the past it was up to famous explorers such as Captain Cook or Christopher Columbus to go on discovery expeditions. When they returned from voyages they would share tales of the new lands they had found. There were huge barriers – high costs for one, and enormous safety risks – that separated explorers from non-explorers.

David Lang and his co-founder, Eric Stackpole, want to give amateurs from all over the world an easy and affordable way to discover the mysterious life under the sea. In 2012, they launched a robotics start-up called OpenROV that sells remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) which can be sent as deep as 100 metres under water.

Today, there are more than 3,000 ROV owners who use them to explore shipwrecks, find ancient Mayan pottery, spot elusive sea creatures and observe pollution from the comfort of their living rooms. The global community share their expeditions and follow ones they are interested in on an online platform called Open Explorer.

David Lang: “We’ve always emphasised the journey: it’s not important what you find. It’s important that you’re out looking. Eric and I made a promise to each other really early on that our goal would always be to maximise our return on adventure.”

Photo Credit: Video still, video by OpenROV

Source: OpenROV’s David Lang enables armchair Jacque Cousteaus, Rachel Botsman, Australian Financial Review