Oceans are the life-support system of our planet. They control our weather, create the air we breathe, and provide much of the food we eat. Yet our oceans remain largely unexplored and misunderstood. This lack of awareness leads to mismanagement of natural resources and limits our ability to predict both local ocean weather and global climate.
Facing our current environmental challenges — from overfishing to coral bleaching, ocean acidification to coastal protection — success ultimately relies on our ability to understand and monitor our oceans. Above all else, we need a rapid increase in ocean data, and to empower more people to use it.
OpenROV began with a Kickstarter project in 2012. Starting with DIY kits for hobbyists, the company pioneered a revolution in low-cost ROV designs that continues today. They followed up with the original kits with Trident, the first truly accessible underwater drone. In addition to the tools, OpenROV fostered a community of citizen scientists that lives on the forums as well as the Open Explorer expedition site.
In 2016 the Spoondrift team set out to democratize access to ocean data by developing ocean sensing platforms designed for usability and accessibility. Supported by ARPA-E and the Office of Naval Research, Spoondrift developed Spotter, a solar-powered and worldwide-connected ocean sensing platform, integrated into a user dashboard for real-time data access and two-way communication. Spoondrift launched Spotter in 2017, which was quickly adopted by ocean scientists, professionals, and enthusiasts world-wide, to create a borderless ocean data network.
Finding a common mission and complementary team skill set, Spoondrift and OpenROV merged to form Sofar and accelerate a future with better tools to understand and explore the ocean. The mission of the company is to create pervasive sensor networks to understand and monitor ocean environments and provide critical data for ocean enthusiasts, industry, and conservation.