An enviromental group has teamed up with a surf technology company to develop a fin-like device that fits onto surfboards and collects data on ocean health.
The Smartfin attaches on to the bottom of surfboards and performs like any normal fin does. Except that it, you know, gleans a whole lot of data about the condition of the ocean as it glides through the water thanks to it's inbuilt sensors.
The device could hopefully help bridge a gap in data gathering when it comes to measuring ocean health. Buoys, autonomous vehicles and other robotic devices are fine for monitoring deep waters but measuring waters closer to the shore with these is much trickier given the water is so shallow and often turbulent. To overcome this, teams at environmental group Lost Bird and surf tech company BoardFormula developed something that could fit onto surfboards and would see surfers themselves incidentally gathering oceanographic data while riding the waves.
Smartfin measures a number of oceanic vital signs such as temperature, directional wave spectra (via the motion tracking sensor), and optionally, either pH levels or salinity. Once a surfer is out of the water, the data can be transmitted from the Smartfin to an app (via bluetooth) and from there it is stored in a cloud. Scientists across the world will be able to access the raw data for research purposes into areas like ocean acidification, temperature fluctuations and salinity levels. The team behind the project also hopes to use the data to build awareness around keeping our oceans healthy. Currently, they are working with researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to test the viability of the device in the surf.
Take a look at the video below to find out more about Smartfin: