It took the longest of any project undertaken by New Jersey teenager Justin Beckerman, currently a high school junior at West Morris Mendham High School. (His next longest project was a tree house.) Unlike other teenagers who spend their days playing video games or lounging around the mall, Beckerman is driven to create stuff.
He is known around the neighborhood for his inventive mind and is a “popular handyman who can fix TVs and Jet Skis,” according to NJ.com. Said neighbor Jean Scrocco, “He doesn’t give up. He gets an idea in his head and he keeps going until he gets it to work.”
One of many inventions
So it’s no surprise that the one-man submarine was not his first successful invention. Prior to that, the “Teenage Thomas Edison” had crafted a remote control “cleaning car,” which could mop and vacuum the floor; an “amusement ride,” which involved a beach chair and wires; and “head entertainment,” which provides its users with a helmet-based contraption to prevent viewers from craning their necks to see videos, among other things.
Boy meets submarine
However, his working one-man submarine is in a class of its own. He spent 6 months designing and building his device, which he uses at near-by Lake Hopatcong. The submarine comes “complete with “lights, paddles, ballasts, air compressors, 2,000 feet of wire and a Plexiglas dome top that looks like the head of Star Wars robot R2-D2,” according to NJ.com.
The submarine cost about $2,000 to build, according to CNN, and was the second incarnation of the device. He first built a remote-controlled sub that allowed him to see “tons of fish,” in Justin’s own words. That encouraged him to craft this more sophisticated manned vehicle.
Beckerman’s submarine has “a motor on back, regulators and valves from an old soda machine, three battery systems, float sensors that can tell when tanks are full or empty, a horn, a CB radio to communicate with people on the surface and 1,400 watts of lights plus a strobe light,” according to NJ.com.
It can dive some 30 feet into the lake, and the submarine is equipped with a camera and public announcement system that allows the young inventor to provide those on shore a glimpse of what’s going on down below via a television screen via a signal he bounces of a buoy.
What’s next for Beckerman and his sub
While the submarine has already made at least 3 successful dives, teenager Justin Beckerman plans to use it to explore the lake, telling CNN he planned to use it to “hopefully find a bit of history, like the cannons from my neighbors’ historic house” which were dumped in the lake during renovations in the 1960s.
He also noted that, given time and more funding, he would like to add “a robotic claw” to the submarine, which would enable him to “pick up garbage and clean the bottom of the lake.”