Finalist 2023

SEAVU Underwater Livestream

Paraform / SEAVU

The SEAVU Explorer redefines underwater visibility and videography by making it affordable, accessible and sustainable for fishers, boaters and researchers.

The SEAVU Explorer redefines underwater visibility and videography by making it affordable, accessible and sustainable for fishers, boaters, researchers and documentary makers. The product houses an action camera (eg. Go Pro) which is deployed underwater, streaming footage to a mobile phone in the hand of a person standing on a boat. Trolling Mode allows game fishers to see marlin or tuna up close as they follow a lure and take the bait. Seafloor Mode allows documentary makers to observe marine life on the ocean floor. Pole Mode enables yacht crews to easily spy potential obstructions or inspect fouled propellers.

Design Brief:

We consulted with a number of global-level pro-fishers and documentary makers to understand the key goals and pain points of existing underwater cameras. We heard that existing solutions are expensive, difficult to use while on a rocking boat and are quickly superseded by advancing camera technology, sending them to landfills. They are focused on industrial markets, either having custom built-in cameras or requiring custom screens for viewing. The main brief for the SEAVU Explorer project was to create the first underwater live-view and videography product that was usable, affordable, versatile and sustainable enough to appeal to hobbyists and professionals alike.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

When approaching the SEAVU Explorer project, we wanted to create the first underwater live-view and videography product that people would actually buy and use.

It became clear that the Explorer needed to be a platform, providing the modularity and customisability that the market was calling for. This idea started with allowing users to bring their own cameras and phones to the product. It developed into a rich platform with a range of accessories that can be easily clipped in or attached at various points. We anticipate it will lead to users creating their own accessories for their particular needs, as has been seen with the GoPro community.

A key aspect of the usability was to allow the Explorer to be disconnected from the 27m of antenna cable so it can be swapped, replaced or stored separately. Other existing products have these permanently connected, which is a nightmare for transportation, storage and maintenance. The problem was that WiFi does not transmit through water at all and the Explorer case had to be IP68 sealed. Our solution was a unique Antenna Slider on the end of the antenna cable which easily clicks onto the outside of the Case to bridge the wireless connection to the action camera. We created many prototypes and clocked countless hours testing on a boat in Port Phillip Bay.

In line with making the product easy to use on a bumpy ocean, we challenged ourselves to design an IP68 to 27m clip closure of the front lens. Mirroring the form of the GoPro IP68 cases, our rectangular lens allows the form to match the action cameras and our over-centre clip closure can be easily operated single-handedly. Testing of the case has shown it to be waterproof to up to 50m, far surpassing our 27m depth target.

Design Excellence

Form
The Explorer takes the form of a rugged military sporting camera crossed with a sea creature. It’s designed to be functional and industrial while cutting through the water like a shark. The big front lens leaves no doubt what the Explorer is there to do. Splashes of green are used sparingly to highlight key user action points.

Function
The Explorer is simple to operate while on a bumpy ocean without the need for tools. The unique clip systems for the lens cover, antenna and accessories makes it simple to set up in seconds. It even features a purpose designed feature-rich cable reel.

Safety
The key way in which the Explorer helps with safely is by providing boaters with better visibility of what underneath them.

Quality
The regular use of the Explorer sees it immersed in salt water, exposed to sunlight and likely exposed to hitting the odd object while in the water. It’s designed to outlast the camera that fits inside it. Therefore, the body and lens are made out of impact and UV resistant polycarbonate. All fasteners are marine grade 316 Stainless Steel. The antenna cable has a high strength rating. It delivers a premium product at an affordable price.

Sustainability
By utilising existing cameras and mobiles and designing a modular platform, we ensured accessibility for a diverse range of users. The platform's smart modular design reduces obsolescence and waste while enabling users to easily update their existing action cameras and mobile devices without replacing the entire system. This adaptable design offers the unique ability to create custom accessories, broadening the platform's scope in an eco-friendly way.

Design Innovation

The core of the SEAVU Explorer is the ability for users to bring their existing phones and action cameras (eg. GoPro) to the world of underwater visibility and videography. Action cameras can be linked with mobiles to live-view and record, however their wireless connection breaks as soon as the action camera is immersed in water. The magic of the Explorer is in the passive WiFi extension cable that links a phone with an action camera even when it’s 27m underwater.

Creating a passive link over 27m was no mean feat. The signal is very weak and the antenna needs to be pressed up against the camera to work reliably. The simple solution was to permanently connect the antenna cable to the Explorer by feeding the cable and antenna in through a hole and “potting” the antenna next to the camera. Having 27m of cable, and the cable reel permanently attached to the Explorer presented a nightmare for transportation, storage and maintenance. The problem was that WiFi does not transmit through water at all and the Explorer case had to be IP68 sealed. Our solution was a unique Antenna Slider on the end of the antenna cable which easily clicks onto the outside of the Explorer case to bridge the wireless connection to the action camera. We created many prototypes and clocked countless hours testing in bathtubs, swimming pools and out on a boat in Victoria's Port Phillip Bay to get this to work as seamlessly and magically as it does.

Design Impact

The SEAVU Explorer has the potential to generate significant societal benefits by fostering a more knowledgeable and environmentally conscious boating and fishing community. It is the first product that makes underwater live-viewing and videography from a boat truly accessible to consumer markets. It has the potential to unlock the ocean that way drones have unlocked the sky.

The innovative design and focus on usability, versatility, affordability and sustainability will shift the paradigm within the underwater visibility and videography market. Commercially, SEAVU is positioned to define and dominate the market. Culturally, we anticipate it will unlock an entire genre of videography and exploration.

Designed for a wide range of use cases, from boating and fishing to research and documentary filmmaking, it enables users to connect with the mysteries of the deep from the comfort of their boat. We hope the powerful tool ushers in a new wave of connection and appreciation of sea life. We are excited to see the invaluable discoveries, footage and memories that the SEAVU Explorer will facilitate.

Our team truly showcases the best of Victorian design. Our designers live in Melbourne’s buzzing St Kilda, artsy Coburg, culture rich Castlemaine and gorgeous Mount Eliza. We celebrate the inspiration our urban and cultural landscapes offer us and our designs. The SEAVU Explorer itself was tested extensively for over a year in Victoria's iconic Port Phillip Bay.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

We consulted with a number of global-level pro-fishers and documentary makers to understand the key goals and pain points of existing underwater cameras. We heard that existing solutions are expensive, difficult to use while on a rocking boat and are quickly superseded by advancing camera technology, sending them to landfills. They are focused on industrial markets, either having custom built-in cameras or requiring custom screens for viewing.

By utilising existing cameras and mobiles and designing a modular platform, we ensured accessibility for a diverse range of users. The platform's smart modular design reduces obsolescence and waste while enabling users to easily update their existing action cameras and mobile devices without replacing the entire system. This adaptable design offers the unique ability to create custom accessories, broadening the platform's scope in an eco-friendly way.

With other products, we have used ocean-captured plastics to further engage in the circular economy. The rugged requirements of the SEAVU Explorer have made it impossible to use currently available sources of these materials. We are in the process of modifying and testing these materials to ensure that future production of the SEAVU Explorer can not only reduce landfill at the end of the product lifecycles, but clean up our oceans at the start.

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