There’s a world undiscovered here, on our own planet—in the depths of our massive oceans. Underwater crews have explored Earth’s waters for generations, but, like anything else, as technology improves, so does our capability for exploring deeper, darker oceanic destinations as well as discovering and documenting new marine life and behaviors.
Enter Arctic Rays, a company founded and led by Dirk Fieberg ’01, ’03 M.S., and Lee Frey ’99, ’02 M.S., which manufactures advanced underwater cameras and lighting equipment. Fieberg and Frey are raising the bar for underwater tech by applying a fresh approach to the design of underwater systems.
“Underwater technology has always been very expensive and has taken a long time to develop and bring to market. In the past, only big companies and research institutes had the resources to design and manufacture for such a challenging environment,” says Frey. “Today, advancements in robotics, LED lighting, high-resolution imaging and rapid prototyping are revolutionizing what is possible.”
Arctic Rays equipment has been used by BBC and OceanX for the making of the documentary series “Blue Planet II,” as well as Netflix, The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), the U.S. Navy, NOAA and several others.
“We recently developed a novel system with Brian LaJoie ’99, ’01 M.S., who works for L3Harris Technologies. It uses a suite of high-definition cameras, motion controllers and fiber-optic networking technology to provide real-time monitoring of deep-sea dive operations.”
The company was created when Fieberg, with over a decade of experience working with high-tech lighting for Tempo LED Lighting and Philips Lighting, and Frey, an ocean engineer who has spent 19 years building and piloting underwater vehicles for companies like OceanX, WHOI and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, decided to combine their skills to improve upon the tools available to marine scientists, explorers and documentary filmmakers.
“We are excited to be building something new, right here in the Melbourne area. Our time at Florida Tech gave us both the solid education and lasting friendships that have made this new venture possible,” says Fieberg.
Quarantine activity: DIY home remodeling
Alternate career: Running an electrical, HVAC and plumbing business
Go-to snack: Pistachios
Favorite Florida Tech memory: Meeting my future wife in University Experience class
Quarantine activity: Kayaking, sailing, biking … being outdoors
Alternate career: Evolutionary biologist
Go-to snack: Soft pretzels—I’m from Philly. It’s genetic.
Favorite Florida Tech memory: Late-night rehearsals with College Players
This piece was featured in the spring 2021 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.