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Exploring the Deep Ocean With Underwater Robots Underwater robots give scientists and budding explorers a way to dive in.

By Jenna Schnuer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Illustration © Peter Crowther

Entrepreneurs: Eric Stackpole, a former NASA intern who thought space exploration was going to be his career, and David Lang, who managed a San Francisco-based sailing school before joining a crowdfunding startup that later flopped. The two launched OpenROV, which makes open-source underwater robots.

"Aha" moment: Stackpole--whose first love is telerobotics ("any device you can use to see a faraway place without physically having to be there")--realized while at NASA that "you need a huge amount of money, if not a government, to get into orbit." He also noted that the NASA team working on underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) "looked like they were having more fun." So he turned his attention to underwater exploration, "because you know you'll see other species--and all you need is curiosity and a shoreline," Stackpole started working on an ROV concept in 2009.

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