Can you extract data from the sea using the philosophy of the Internet of Things?
This is now possible thanks to devices such as low cost autonomous buoys with 3G connectivity that are continuously uploading to the sea cloud data on waves, sea temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, UV radiation, temperature and humidity, among others. These buoys give us highly useful real time information on the actual conditions of the sea.
What features should these buoys have?
Let’s analyse a buoy we have developed from the mechanical, electronic and communications points of view.
As regards mechanical issues, it is really important to use lightweight and non-polluting materials.
So we used marine stainless steel.
Size and weight are also important.
One of these buoys should weigh less than 12 kilograms and be able to be carried by one person.
Finally, the mechanical elements should be cheap and easily available. So the counterweight is a gym weight.
From the electronic point of view, the buoy must be able to produce its own power. There is nothing better for this than panels and batteries. For example, an 0.8 W solar panel and a 2300 mAh lithium battery.
Another important feature is to use low power microprocessors, such as the MSP430 family from Texas Instruments.
It is also necessary to use DC/DC converters and interface circuits between the sensor and micro inputs.
Since these buoys are designed for use near the coast, it is best to provide them with mobile connectivity. Simple modules such as the SIM900 are an easy way to achieve this.
The SIM900 is a GPRS communications module with very low power consumption (1mA) and is easily controlled by AT commands.
The Internet of Things makes it possible for you to «see» the sea on the screen of your mobile device.
And this is just the first step!!! There is still a lot of ocean to explore. Are you ready?