Understanding Lobster Behavior; Advanced Design Consulting receives NOAA grant to develop MEMS sensors to monitor ocean temperatures
07/12/2004 - 11/30/-0001
Lansing, NY, July 12, 2004 – Just as northern hunters follow the movements of reindeer herds, so do commercial fishermen track the migrations of lobster populations. They do it by correlating water temperatures at the bottom of the ocean with locations where lobsters are most abundant. Currently, lobster hunters use thermal measuring devices that feed the temperature to data loggers attached to the traps. The data is available only when the traps are retrieved and the loggers taken to a remote site for downloading. Though these devices
have proven useful, they don’t provide any real-time temperature information, nor do they produce any data about the ocean depth where the temperatures were recorded. That’s going to change, though, thanks to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant awarded to Advanced Design Consulting in Lansing, New York. Lobsters and Sensors and Oceans—Oh My!
“This grant will allow us to develop a miniaturized environmental monitoring system that
will use radio-frequency communication to wirelessly transfer data to an inexpensive hand-held computer,” says Alex Deyhim, president of Advanced Design Consulting. “The system will not only instantly plot temperatures, it will also have a pressure sensor to record depth changes. In addition, we plan to develop a way to recharge the batteries within the system so it remains completely sealed.”
When finally designed, the sensor will operate from a circuit card roughly the size of a 25-
cent piece and be housed in a case two inches long and one-inch wide. Two antennas will be
wrapped around the case, one to facilitate charging and the other to read the data and radio it to a hand-held or a laptop computer.
“The sensor will be designed to be low-cost, with minimal power consumption and an
extended battery life,” says Eric Johnson, Advanced Design Consulting’s vice president of
research. “Since it will be recharged by radio frequency induction, the unit can remain sealed. Most importantly, though, data obtained from the sensor will be immediately available for graphic display by the user.”
Lowered to the ocean bottom on lobster traps, the sensor will measure water temperature
and pressure hourly, up to a depth of 1,300 feet (400 meters). With a useable life of at least 10 years, it will be able to operate on battery power for a year without external recharging.
“Incorporating radio frequency communication and charging into an existing low-power
sensor will be a challenging task,” Deyhim says. “But once we complete it, professional
lobstermen will have detailed, real-time information that will be of critical economic importance to them.”
About the company: Advanced Design Consulting, Inc. (ADC) is a privately owned company
organized and structured to provide technical services to all types of clients from small scientific entrepreneurs to universities, government agencies and private industries. The firm’s expertise and activities are primarily related to engineering design, research and development, testing and custom fabrication. It searches for innovative solutions to difficult problems. To learn more about ADC products and services, visit the website at www.adc9001.com.