Who We Are
Liquid Robotics is an ocean data services provider and developer of the Wave Glider®, the world’s first wave powered, autonomous marine robot designed to help address the biggest challenges the world faces, including global climate change, national security, hurricane and tsunami warning, and offshore energy and resource management.
Liquid Robotics is backed by VantagePoint Capital Partners, Riverwood Capital and Schlumberger.
The Liquid Robotics story began with an unusual interest in whale songs, and a passion for building unusual things.
Joe Rizzi, a successful venture capitalist and chairman of the Jupiter Research Foundation, became fascinated with the songs of humpback whales along the coasts of Hawai’i and Alaska. He wanted to capture their songs “live” and pipe their music out to the world via the internet. This turned out to be a more challenging, and interesting task than he could have hoped for.
Joe and his neighbor Bob Burcham started the project with Bob's kayak, a pickle jar, a hydrophone and a long cable and so began the first attempt to record the Humpback Whales singing. After much trial and error, re-engineering and overcoming snapping shrimp, Joe asked a family friend for assistance. In 2005, Derek Hine, an inventor and aerospace engineer and his son, Roger Hine, a Stanford educated robotics designer, were presented with the challenge of developing “an unmoored, station-keeping data buoy.” Roger was already at work building other unusual robotic devices for more conventional purposes, and this was exactly the challenge and opportunity he was looking for. He bought a large fish tank on craigslist and plopped it in the middle of his family room where for the next several months the wave glider design began to take form.
Roger, Derek, Joe and the team at Jupiter spent over a year on the project experimenting with different design concepts and models, culminating in a set of fully functional prototypes in Hawaii. The design they came up with was a remarkably simple and durable solution to an otherwise unsolved problem: how to put a mobile, persistent device in the middle of the ocean and continuously send data back to shore. And, since they didn’t have a ship, you didn’t need a ship to deploy it. Recognizing the commercial potential for the technology, the group launched Liquid Robotics Inc. with Roger as the founding CEO, in January, 2007.
In its first two years, the company designed, built and mission tested the Wave Glider®, the first wave-powered autonomous marine robot. In January 2009, long endurance testing began when a Wave Glider completed a nine-day circumnavigation of Hawai’i's Big Island. Later that year, a pair of Wave Gliders journeyed from Hawai’i to San Diego, an 82-day trip that covered more than 2,500 miles. Since then, Wave Gliders have covered over 250,000 nautical miles, and collected data for dozens of scientific, commercial and security applications. Liquid Robotics early customers included leading oceanographic institutions, the Navy, NOAA and major commercial organizations.
In 2010, Bill Vass – a leading IT expert and former President of Sun Federal - discovered Liquid Robotics and immediately recognized the potential to build a world class data services business based around the groundbreaking technology. With a new investment from Vantage Point and Schlumberger in hand, the company brought Bill on board as CEO in April of 2011 and launched the present company – the first global ocean robot data services company.