Magnetic Induction (MI) Wireless Underwater Data Communications: Bottom-to-Surface Ocean Temperature Monitoring

PI: Chathan Cooke, MIT

Project Number:2018-R/RCM-52

Start Date:2018-02-01End Date:2022-01-31

Proposal Summary

This project seeks to establish base-line technology for magnetic induction (MI) wireless communications in the underwater environment. Reliable capability to communicate from the underwater sensor station to a surface vessel for downloading of stored time series data is a key component that enables consistent highly cost-effect data acquisition. Researchers will quantify the MI wireless channel characteristics and design source and receiving antenna to better match to the MI channel properties. A water-tight temperature measurement demonstration system will be designed, constructed and tested to validate wireless MI data communications. The demonstration will also establish the viability for economical automated data communications using MI from seafloor data acquisition to a surface vehicle on a periodic collection basis. Changes in ocean temperatures have been shown to have strong effects on fish habitat use. Accurate, consistent and timely monitoring of ocean temperatures is of great importance to fisheries surveys and assessments, and its implications for sustaining resilient coastal communities and their economics. By removing most of the human at-sea time we greatly enhance the practicality to monitor more sites on a long-term basis.

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