|[May 06, 2014]
BlueRobotics Propels Itself to Cool Idea! Award
MAPLE PLAIN, Minn. --(Business Wire)--
Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB) has presented a Cool Idea! Award to the team at
BlueRobotics for their development work on the Thruster-100 propulsion
system for robotic marine vehicles.
Thruster-100, designed by BlueRobotics, named Cool Idea! Award recipient. The device can be used for aquatic exploration. (Photo: BlueRobotics)
BlueRobotics designed the compact Thruster-100 as a low-cost motor and
propeller unit that users can affix to remotely operated underwater
vehicles and small surface vessels for aquatic exploration. A plastic
framework integrated with a brushless electric motor enables the
thruster to operate continuously for months at a time, navigate into
deep waters and resist the corrosive nature of ocean saltwater.
By drastically reducing the hardware expense typically associated with
buying a thruster, the company hopes to provide a more accessible entry
point for hobbyists, educators, students and professionals. "There's a
developing community of people online who are doing marine robotics
projects for fun and ecological reasons and they're all having the same
problem - they don't have an affordable underwater thruster," says
engineer and BlueRobotics co-founder, Rustom Jehangir.
Applications for marine robotics vary from studying ocean currents and
temperatures to photographing reefs and seacreatures to surveying
underwater wreckage. With the Thruster-100, the goal is to inexpensively
power more exploration like that. "We hope the thruster will serve as a
foundation for which other people can build things," explains Joe
Spadola, co-founder at BlueRobotics.
As part of the Cool Idea! Award grant from Proto Labs, the company will
receive a range of thermoplastic injection-molded parts including nose,
propeller, nozzle and tail cone components along with mounting brackets.
BlueRobotics plans to make its Thruster-100 available to customers later
"While hardware, software and information have become readily available
to the rapidly expanding hobbyist robotic market, ocean exploration
within that market has been limited in part by the cost and design of
the thruster component. BlueRobotics has designed a product that will
enable not only the hobbyist market, but the academic and commercial
markets to push the current limits of marine robotics," says Proto Labs
Founder and Chairman, Larry Lukis.
Launched in 2011, the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award gives a total of
$250,000 in services each year to entrepreneurs developing new products
in the United States and Europe. Unlike other product awards that
recognize products after they're in mass production and on store
shelves, the Cool Idea! Award is meant to help innovative ideas come to
life. For more information about the Cool Idea! Award and to apply,
About Proto Labs
Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE: PRLB) is a leading online
and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts for
prototyping and short-run production. Proto Labs provides "Real Parts,
Really Fast" to product developers worldwide. Proto Labs uses computer
numerical control (CNC) machining, injection molding and additive
manufacturing to manufacture custom parts for our customers. For more
information, visit www.protolabs.com.
BlueRobotics is a California-based team of
mechanical engineers who are developing affordable technology and
thruster hardware for robotic marine vehicles. For more information,
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