We first came across Ziphius when Rob Bishop went to do some talks and workshops in Portugal. Ziphius is a Pi-powered aquatic drone, equipped with cameras, who displays autonomous behaviour and can also be controlled from your phone or tablet. I say “who” rather than “which” because despite the lack of a face, arms or legs, Ziphius has a very singular character and, once powering through the waves, seems oddly cheerful and friendly. I’ve no idea how team Ziphius have achieved this injection of soulfulness into a drone shaped like an aquatic potato, but they’ve done it with aplomb.
It’s stealthy, like a ninja. A yellow, shoe-shaped, seafaring ninja with bags of personality.
Ziphius can tow you on your inner tube, take movies of you while you catch a wave, photograph or film what’s on the sea bed, scout ahead of your fishing party, hold your beer in the pool, play games (it can even retrieve objects thrown to it) and much more. Rob says:
I had an opportunity to visit the team behind Ziphius when I last visited Portugal to speak at IST in Lisboa. We spent a day together integrating the Pi camera into their aquatic drone and discussing their future plans. I’m really pleased to see that they’ve got to this point and hope they succeed in raising the funds they need. Their drone is very impressive in person and I can imagine a number of uses for it beyond simply messing about at the beach (although that did look like fun!). It will also make a pretty cheap platform for any kind of water-based robotics if they manage to produce it at their intended $200 to $250 price point (which includes a Pi and a Pi camera).
We wish the folks at Azorean Aquatic Technologies all the best with the Ziphius Kickstarter.