Posted by: Elizabeth Barilleaux | November 18, 2010

The Science of Hot, Fast and Cheap Water Monitoring

Low-cost, energy efficient water monitors from NC State University (image courtesy of NCSU)

Nothing gets my nerdy bits tingling like a Really Useful Gadget.  Alex Dean and his team at North Carolina State University have designed a cost-effective water monitor  built of off-the-shelf parts that will be a tremendous help in studying coastal water conditions.  Besides measuring basic information such as salinity, temperature and clarity, the cheap monitors can be outfitted to evaluate oyster activity and provide immediate, online data.  Tracking facts like this would be a huge time and cost-saving tool for oyster farmers and environmental groups alike.  The recent oil spill in the Gulf has spread our thin environmental resources in Louisiana even thinner, but this low-cost monitoring gadget has the potential to bring us back up to speed.

According to Dr. Dean, the research team is in the proof-of-concept phase this winter through next spring.  Once testing is complete, all of the hardware and software information will be open source for easy duplication by anyone from high-school science classes to state agencies.

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