Tag Archives: prototype

Ziphius final prototype


The moment we’ve been waiting for is here. This is Ziphius last prototype. We used the September days to do some testings to make sure everything is topnotch. Soon we will have more pics and improvements to show you. Next step: steel mold production. Let’s go!

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Like a virgin ♫


We went to the beach to see how well the new version of Ziphius handles the waves! This unit was quickly assembled to go into the ocean. Touched for the very first time. We will keep you posted. 🙂

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It’s not only a question of size

Apart from size, there are many issues concerning the creation of the right 3D model for the plastic parts of Ziphius, being the most challenging the accommodation of all the electronics. To make them fit in a water-proof box without increasing too much the size of Ziphius isn’t a easy task. Moreover, the model involves a lot of details: it includes 12 different pieces, all of them with specific requisites. On top of that we have been adapting this 3D model to follow the engineering principles of the steel molds.


Gladly, we have now a prototype that fulfills the product major requirements (and finally the right size!): the Ziphius in the middle. We have been testing and refining it to have the final prototype, including the most important test of them all: get it into the water. We first need to produce silicon molds and then proceed with a battery of tests.

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A real friendship blended by digital fabrication


Artica is a creative computing Portuguese company, specializing in digital fabrication, electronics production and app development, which aims to transform emerging technologies and art into impactful human experiences. These peeps work with electronics and computing, so they love robots, digital fabrication and prototyping!

As you probably noticed on our website, Artica and Azorean are buds. Artica have been producing Ziphius’ shell prototypes, in their laboratory, where they have a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) milling (milling is a cutting process that uses a milling cutter to remove material from the surface of a work piece) and other machinery for object fabrication.

CNC Milling

We spoke to André Almeida, who told us a bit more about the whole process behind making Ziphius’ shell come to life! Apparently it was a first run for them, since Ziphius was the first three-dimensional object created with their CNC.

“Making Ziphius’ shell has given us the opportunity to explore our CNC’s machine new capabilities. Before this, the CNC has been used a lot on our robots Farruscos for bi-dimensional cutting (cutting PVC, acrylics, wood) but with Ziphius we had to implement new techniques, as it is a 3D object. It has to be done in slices, first on one side and then the other, to be machined in both sides.”

Each shell takes from 16 to 20 hours to be created. André said they are working on improving the timing each time they produce a new one. It’s all about experience and process optimization! Artica members envision that they can still shorten the time, which is great.

CNC’s milling operation is extremely easy: you have three axes (X, Y Z) and a motor for cutting. First a raft cut is done to prune the material, and then a more detailed cut to give the shell its form. “Ziphius will be an aquatic drone, so there will be a submerged part. Ziphius’ hull is cut in a longitudinal way, according to the water flow” says André. 


João Ribeiro and André Almeida, keeping up with Ziphius’ shell prototyping

Not  everything is smooth sailing… there were, of course, failed attempts. For instance, trying to get the perfect height so all the pieces fit together and Ziphius achieved its intended size. But it all ends well, or as André puts it, Ziphius’ shell is “pixel perfect”! 


André Almeida and Guilherme Martins: Robots, robots everywhere!


Artica’s office – from left to right: BEETHEFIRST. Sapo, Farrusco, Ultimaker and, on the second image, Magabot

We would like to thank Artica for all the hard work. André, João and Guilherme, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! 🙂

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Ziphius DIY Edition

Ziphius is an highly customizable aquatic drone. Here at the office, we’ve been coming up with ideas on how you can do modify Ziphius.

Want to also be able to control Ziphius on land? You can attach some wheels to it.


Owner of a GoPro camera? We attached one to one of our prototypes. 

Ziphius Gopro 3

As you can see, there are a lot of possibilities. Because of that we’ve just added a new reward for the DIYers/hobbyists on our Kickstarter page. If you have an imaginative mind and are always creating new stuff, this is your chance to make your own HD camera equipped drone (all the electronics included). Get the Ziphius DIY edition for only $99. More info here.  

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If I had a Ziphius

Our team is quite  a diverse bunch! But we all love gadgets and games. This passion, combined with our islander condition, lead us to produce an affordable aquatic gadget, since it’s a market yet to explore.

Last summer we’ve started getting ourselves busy on developing our first prototype. At that time we used tupperware and foam (oh yes!!) to start riding in the water. In the following months we’ve refined the electronics and the design that enabled us to build a more sophisticated prototype and enter the Engadget competition, which we won last March. From that point, we have been working in preparing our Kickstarter campaign and establishing all the details for Ziphius’ mass production, to make us ready to start with it as soon as the Kickstarter campaign is successfully funded.

Ziphius is our dream coming true but we believe that Ziphius makes others dream too. So we’ve asked the community: what would you do if you were a Ziphius owner. And this is what we’ve got. 🙂

You can get one Ziphius now at Kickstarter!

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What is EPP? EPP means Expanded Polypropyle (also known as polypropene) , and we are using it in Ziphius. It’s a material made of foam, divided into closed-cell beads.

It has loads of qualities and benefits such as energy saving and recyclability. It absorbs both water and energy, is highly resistant to physical damage, corrosion and to many chemicals and acids (that’s why it is so widely used and often chosen instead of other materials). Its first applications were for automotive products but its uses are very extensive: it can be used in consumer products, packaging, air conditioning/heating, toys, furniture, food containers, beverage coolers, loudspeakers, textiles, laboratory equipment  (do I need to say more?). Plus, it is also an awesome replacement for metals and other plastic materials.

Here in Azorean we are using it in Ziphius prototypes because of all these reasons but primarily because EPP has buoyancy properties, it is lightweight, durable and highly customizable. EPP is available in vibrant amazing colors. In this way, we can experiment with our prototype and decide which colors will suit Ziphius best. Which color would YOU like Ziphius to come in? 

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Ziphius Wall

Hello there,

Walls document well what’s going around and ours is all covered by Ziphius!
These are old sketches. Can you see some similarities with the current prototype?

Keep Ziphius on your mind till next time 😉


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Whoa! It’s been a month already…

How time flies…! A month has passed since we won the two Engadget prizes for Ziphius yet it still hasn’t totally sunk in. It was crazy! All the expectation and anxiety until the big announcement, the crew back home closely following the whole event and commenting constantly about it on Facebook. Then, the results were announced, we won and totally went BANANAS! It’s such an achievement and we are really grateful and happy. When Edmundo and Cristina returned to the office we had a big celebration, I mean, we even had Ziphius cookies! And pretty delicious ones at that. Yum!

We’ve been working a lot this past month; Ziphius is still in its infancy but we are putting a lot of effort into make it ready. We’ve been doing a lot of tests with the new prototype, trying to test the zillions of environments and conditions that Ziphius may face when out in the wild. On the software side, we’ve also been improving the quality of the video captured by Ziphius. Plus, we are working to launch our crowd funding campaign at the beginning of next month so keep an eye out for that! 🙂 

ziphius_workspaceSee you next time!

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First log

Here at Azorean we are joining forces to make it possible for Ziphius to find you. Our little aquatic drone is getting ready to brave the wild and we want to share the amazing adventure that developing it has been. With super intuitive handling and unique design, Ziphius achieves spectacular water rides, being the first smartphone-controlled aquatic drone of a new generation to come.

Ziphius can be your fun factor in swimming pools, lakes, oceans and more. How? With an integrated camera, which captures above and below the water level images, you can photograph/film all you want and share it with your friends! With our control app installed in your smartphone or tablet you can command your Ziphius via WI-FI and play Augmented Reality Games while piloting it. It’s a whole new world to explore.

For now, Ziphius is just a prototype. We are working hard to make it a truly functional product, or better, your new friend and companion. Azorean has been a rollercoaster. Daily, we have to deal with a lot of different creative and technological situations: new discoveries are made, solutions to problems are arranged and we have to keep on top of our marketing efforts to reach out to people and find out what features they’d like Ziphius to offer. Not to mention all the fun involved in Ziphius’ development! 🙂

Keep synched to our blog which will have all the latest news about Ziphius, its making, developments and Azorean, the company that brings it to you. Updates to the blog will probably be as frenetic as our work pace here at the office is. We can’t wait to show you the final product in action!


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