A low-cost, open-source, and distributed ocean profiling sensor node

Andres Rico

A. Rico, S. Prasad and K. Larson, "A low-cost, open-source, and distributed ocean profiling sensor node," 2022 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium (SAS), 2022, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/SAS54819.2022.9881243.


Ocean exploration is emerging as a critical field of research for understanding and combating climate change. While coastal waters house vital marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, they are still vastly unexplored. Sensor nodes in coastal waters can give local communities and researchers relevant data for understanding the relationship between climate change, blue-economy activities, and ecosystem degradation. We present and validate a sensor node that can be opportunistically used by non-industrial fishing boats in order to collectively source ocean profiles containing temperature, light, and acidity levels at multiple depths. We describe the complete system architecture and validate our design with deployments in three different types of water bodies. First, we validate the device’s temperature, light, and depth sensors in a submersion within a controlled pool environment. We then evaluate the software-based power cycling for intermittent data acquisition algorithms through a river deployment. Finally, we demonstrate the complete system’s functionality and possible ways to incorporate acidity sensing with an open ocean deployment. In addition to field testing, we describe and test possible architectures for adding networking capabilities through a WiFi-based system. We conclude that the device’s electrical and mechanical characteristics significantly contribute towards enabling low-cost, community-sourced data acquisition for ocean coastal water profiling.

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