Sea Technology

MAY 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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www.sea-technology.com May 2018 | ST 13 are also needed to assess stocks of commercial fish and monitor the environmental impact of industrial activities. These applications point to the need for an Ocean Dash- board—a new capability to detect, monitor, track and report events in the oceans as they occur, powered by small, inexpensive smart sensors, like the SeaTag-MOD. Breaking the Vicious Cycle of High Cost, Small Markets In Ocean Tech Dense smart sensor networks are now the norm for resource, process and activity management on land. But ocean technology is often caught in a vicious cycle in which the special nature and stringent demand on equip- ment results in high prices. This limits the applications and market for the technology, which in turn reinforces high prices. Given the large size of the oceans and the sensor den- sity needed for effective detection, how could a realis- tic network be established even for select ocean areas? Here, the economic history of the tiny ocean explorer points to a solution. SeaTag devices are the result of a 2009 NOAA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) solicitation that sought innovation and cost reduction in pop-up satellite tags (PSAT) so that this capable technol- ogy, typically priced at around $4,000 per device, might be deployed in more significant numbers than the few to low tens of a typical study. Desert Star's modular de- sign approach managed to break the high-cost cycle. We build new products not from scratch but in a modular fashion in which a typical new product is engineered ap- proximately 85 percent cut-and-paste style from pre-ex- isting design blocks with about approximately 15 percent new content added. These blocks include electronic cir- cuitry, mechanical components, firmware and software (Top) SeaTag-MOD's modular architec- ture makes it suitable for a variety of ocean sensing tasks. The syntactic float (A) is rated for sub- mergence to 2,000 m. Energy is collected by the wrap- around thin-film solar panel (C) and stored in ultracapac- itor (D). This configuration provides renewable power for data collection and transmission. The sensor suite includes a depth sensor (B), three-axis magnetometer (F) and accel- erometer (G), and temperature sensor (H). Sensor read- ings are archived in a 2-GB microSD card (K). An Argos transmitter (E) provides a global reporting capability. Op- tional payload sections (J), such as for the pop-up release function and a primary battery, are accepted by interface connector (I). (Copyright: Desert Star Systems) (Left) Un- der the Ocean Dashboard concept, widely distributed, miniature smart ocean sensors detect and report on a va- riety of events as illustrated. The envisioned WD-1 smart ocean sensor will incorporate sound detection, recording and localizing capabilities. A small buoyancy engine allows the sensor to dive to listen, then surface to report and re- charge. Applying Desert Star's modular design, WD-1 will incorporate acoustic design blocks from Desert Star's So- narPoint system, thereby further building economies of scale and reducing the cost of the new device. (Copyright: Desert Star Systems)

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