A submarine drone for virtual reality underwater adventures

The PowerRay Wizard records HD videos underwater for up to four hours, simulating a real diving experience from the comfort of the deck

PowerVision PowerRay Wizard, €2,199
PowerVision PowerRay Wizard, €2,199 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Nine years ago, a man contacted me to say he had a fantastic new product, very hush-hush. We met. The product did, indeed, sound amazing – a remotely controlled mini submarine you could launch into the water from your boat and have it do your diving for you, whether to marvel at sea life by live video or to inspect sub-waterline damage. The sleek little craft was small enough, he said, to hold in your arms and, although it did need a cable connection of a couple of hundred feet to carry your commands and send back video, I was sold. “Where can I see it working?” I asked. “Oh,” said the man, “we haven’t built it yet. We’re looking for funding and wondered if you could help.” 

By contrast, this new underwater PowerRay drone from Beijing’s PowerVision (maker of the fabulous PowerEgg flying drone I featured in January) is no mere concept. It’s the real thing. With headlights and 70m of tough cable made of tangle-resistant fabric, it will dive to 30m and keep pottering around underwater for four hours on a charge, recording HD video and previewing it to you on a phone. I can’t imagine much better summer vacation larks. 

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The top-end PowerRay Wizard package, which is aimed at anglers, includes a detachable fish detector, a bait-dropping mechanism and, best of all, a Zeiss VR headset to complete the illusion of being a competent diver from the comfort of your deck. 

Two points. Do find some clear, interesting water to use PowerRay Wizard. I was planning a maiden voyage in Kenya but, long story short, ended up in the beautiful, but murky, village pond in Ashmore, Dorset; my videos as a result are of muddy water and weeds with passing golden carp, of which there are plenty. My other tip – splash out €20 extra for the cable reel to avoid an irritating time packing it up. 

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