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Building An Interactive Mobile Aqua Probe System

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.295.1 - 11.295.12



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Paper Authors

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Hong Zhang Rowan University

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Ying Tang Rowan University

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Courtney Richmond Rowan University

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Patricia Mosto Rowan University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Building an Interactive Mobile Aqua Probe System I. Introduction

Monitoring biological parameters of a body of water is important to assess the effect of pollution and overall health of an ecosystem. Traditional methods of manually collecting samples are tedious, time consuming and a poor use of resources. In contrast to this method, mounting sensors and dataloggers1, 5 in the field allows continuous monitoring of specific, static locations. However, the cost of the method multiplies quickly with the number of stations. More recently, mobile sensor platforms, such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), are developed to provide a flexible method of data acquisition. Nevertheless, these technologies can be very expensive, require a fulltime shipboard or land-based operator (ROVs), and often are not capable of real time data transmission (AUVs) 3. Moreover, although some ROVs and AUVs have been deployed in various missions (e.g., REMUS6), difficulties arise for vehicles in shallow water and complex terrain2, 4.

Therefore, there is a need to advance the aforementioned approaches and to provide a robust, cost-effective and flexible solution for extended and real-time, continuous and interactive data collection of a water body. In this paper, we will discuss a junior/senior design project of developing an Interactive Mobile Aqua Probing & Surveillance (IMAPS) system capable of continuously monitoring water properties and wirelessly communicating with a base station. The completed aqua probe system can be employed by scientists, educators and anyone interested in the study or monitoring of aquatic ecosystems.

Within a year, beginning in spring 2005, the design has evolved from a proof-of- concept prototype to a large pontoon-style robotic probe. Although the project is still on- going, exciting results have already been obtained in initial tests and applications. The most recent pontoon-type probe can retrieve immediate data of locations (longitude and latitude), depths and temperatures of many points of a pond within minutes, whereas in contrast, traditional manual sampling methods take hours to do so in the same field, not to mention the cumbersome preparation and clean-up processes.

In this paper, we will describe in detail the design, construction and testing of all three generations of the aquatic probe system. We will also summarize the skills and experiences obtained by the student team during the process of working from the idea to the realization of working prototypes.

II. Project Management

The entire design process has been conducted within the Rowan Univeristy Engineering Clinic. The Clinic is a format we developed in the Rowan School of Engineering to mimic real-life engineering. The motto of the Clinic is “Design, Build, and Test”. Clinic students are asked to follow a typical process of designing a new

Zhang, H., & Tang, Y., & Richmond, C., & Mosto, P. (2006, June), Building An Interactive Mobile Aqua Probe System Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--976

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