Fathom are a company so new the Kickstarter for their first product hasn’t even launched yet. The Fathom One is a small, portable underwater drone that’s designed to be deployed with a minimum of fuss by users who haven’t previously ventured underwater with electronic devices and is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign due to begin at the end of the month.
It sounds great on paper: it has integrated LED lights and HD video camera, around 45 minutes of battery life, and the drone will function up to a depth of 150ft.
The company is working on an optional physical controller, but to begin with at least the main way to make your dreams of James Cameron-esque exploration come true will be to connect your smartphone to a buoy that’s physically tethered to the drone. The buoy will then relay your instructions down and a video feed back up. Although this approach requires quite a lot of cable, at least it means you’ll be able to haul your drone back up out of the briny depths if you run out of batteries. It will also, I suspect, add a fair bit of bulk to the sleek prototype unit seen in the company’s promo pictures.
The drone’s thrusters are detachable for transport (or presumably repairs in the field), and there’s also a handy rail system built into the body for mounting accessories like action cameras or more powerful lights.
There’s more information over on the Fathom website, and the Fathom One Kickstarter is set to launch on August 30. You can follow the project’s progress on Twitter here. Just bear in mind that the sea is a harsh and fickle mistress and even successful campaigns sometimes don’t turn out shipshape.