Employee Spotlight: Douglas Grant, R&D Engineer

This week we’re aiming the employee spotlight on our creative and dedicated Mechatronics R&D Engineer, Douglas Grant.

Besides the company founders Ben King and Craig Anderson, Doug is the longest-serving Research & Development team member. He works closely with Craig on electrical and electronic development as well as writing software. Doug built his own ROV while at school, which he presented at Friday Talks (pictured), an event encouraging staff to share their experience and expertise with colleagues. We’ve put three questions to Douglas about his work at Boxfish and his passion for robotics and ROVs. Read on to learn more!

1. What do you enjoy most about being a Mechatronics R&D Engineer? 

The variety of work. One day I’ll be working on a new PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design. Another, I’ll be working on some new software features or integrating a new sensor. And all of it has a significant impact on the final product.

2. What has been a highlight of working at Boxfish Research? 

The highlight is undoubtedly the trip to Antarctica – filming killer whales and seals, exploring underneath the Ross ice shelf, and the seafloor by Scott Base. It’s an incredibly unique and other-worldly environment to film and explore.

3. What inspired you to build an ROV while you were studying? 

ROVs sit at a crossroads of many of my passions and interests – robotics, exploration, and the ocean. I think the ocean is one of the last frontiers accessible for an everyday person like me to explore, but I needed a machine to help me do it. I came across someone building their own ROVs on the internet when I was young and was immediately inspired to try my hand at it. My first ROV was relatively simple, with just a few relays, bilge pumps and a security camera. In the years that followed, various other ideas bounced around in my head until in university, where I felt I had the skills to build what I had imagined. This ROV included a fully digital control system and video, onboard batteries, pan-tilt camera and custom thrusters.

Thanks, Douglas, for all your hard work and enthusiasm!

We love having you as part of the Boxfish team.