UBC Undergraduate Research

Adapted endoscope for underwater exploration Strang, Andrew; Vanderhout, Russell


This report describes the development of an endoscopic camera for the purpose of exploring small underwater caverns. The project sponsor, Dr. Jeff Marliave of the Vancouver Aquarium, has been pursuing research into the hibernal behavior of rockfish in the waters of Howe Sound, and he required a device capable of maneuvering into the hibernation caverns and rock piles for observation of the fish. After several initial solutions were analyzed and tested, it became apparent that the most feasible idea was to modify an existing endoscopic camera by attaching it to a flexible, controllable arm, which has been named the "mechanical spine". This device was developed as a purely mechanical solution which would be simple to control, simple to build, and robust. There were several challenges to overcome during development. The device's user interface was required to be simple, accurate and unobtrusive, and durability was a major concern considering the operating conditions. Maximizing the penetration distance of the camera into the caverns was also an important design consideration. After several iterations of the design and subsequent discussions with Dr. Marliave's team, it became apparent that the device could achieve the minimal requirements of the project, but would require further development to be proven reliable and effective for continued use.

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