Fathom was the winner of 5×5 Night in October 2015

Danny Vessells is a senior at Hope College and heads up customer discovery for Fathom, a West Michigan based start-up that is designing the world’s first consumer  underwater drone.

The idea for the Fathom Drone was born out of curiosity for the relics that rest at the bottom of a lake in northern Michigan where Vessells spends much of his time.

“There are a lot of artifacts that are at the bottom of the lake,” says Vessells. “I was looking for a way to dive down and explore these mysteries.”

Vessells formed an LLC in March of 2014 with three of his classmates who were interested in developing the idea.

“We had forayed into other ideas before,” said Vessells. “This one stuck.”

The Fathom drone is the size of a football, requires no technical training to operate and is controlled by the user via smartphone app. There are similar products on the market that are designed for surveyors or oceanographic professionals and come with a hefty price tag. Vessells and his partners at Fathom aim bring the wonder of underwater exploration to the public and retail their product at $600.

The team plans to use the $5,000 from 5×5 Night to purchase an SLA 3D Printer to produce prototypes. The prototypes will be field tested by professionals in the exploration industry, including documentary filmmaker Kinsey Beck, polar explorer Susan Eaton and aquatic filmmaker Fabien Cousteau.

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