During Summer 2017 I worked with researchers at the University of Baltimore to design a system that would monitor various aspects of local stream health. Some of the data we set out to gather was pH levels, water temperature, and turbidity (water clarity). This project included several design challenges such as waterproofing and battery life, as well as how to best anchor the system and maintaining a low cost per raft while meeting researcher needs.
One of the main aspects of this project was working with ecologists and researchers to determine the types of data they wanted to collect but also their needs in the field while using the system. Through regular meetings and site visits I was able to gain insight into current data collection methods as well as the conditions in which the system would be used. This information led me to believe a raft style device would be best.
The raft was built using a locking air-tight food storage container, PVC pipe, and waterproof silicone caulk. The raft was weighed down using a cinder block and nylon rope while an Arduino and SD card collected and stored the incoming data from the sensors.