How to Make Ocean Data Gathering Awesome With Tech #CitizenScience #ocean #tech #science
There are plenty of sensors being used in the ocean, but how many are attached to surfboards? Smartfin is a project that harnesses the talent of surfers to survey the ocean near shorelines using a special fin hacked with tech. I’ve been watching this project since its inception and now it is gathering momentum according to a post by partner Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A few people received the first of the fins at a recent meeting in San Diego of Surfrider Foundation, another non-profit partner and ocean protector. The combination of science and surfing has plenty of appeal according to Andy Stern, Smartfin’s founder.
“Surfers are worshipped by young people,” Stern said. “It’s hard to engage young people in environmental stuff, and you know if I go talk to the Sierra Club, they’re all old folks like me. And it’s also hard to talk about climate change in a way that’s not awful, boring depressing, or gloomy.” Smartfin is different, he said. “There’s nothing gloomy or depressing about Smartfin. It’s entertaining. People want to hear more,” Stern said. “It lends itself to goofiness, and at the heart of it it’s deadly serious.”
I had to do some sleuthing to find a photo of their boards and luckily a post from NewAtlas shows one of their early prototypes. For now the fin can collect temperature, pH and GPS location, which connects to a phone app. However, in the future the hope is to include salinity, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll sensing capabilities. Monitoring the ocean is crucial now with climate change, so using surfers as citizen scientists not only creates plenty of testing opportunities, but also communication opportunities. It’s all about engaging a community around climate change and standing up for the ocean. Check out the teaser on the project from PBS’s recent series The Crowd & the Cloud and make sure to spread the word with your surfer and scientist friends.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Python for Microcontrollers — Python is for the birds, deep dive, Raspberry Pi store, and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !
I am a surfer and windsurfer, and think this is a brilliant way to get young people engaged in environmental monitoring and just understanding how technology can make a difference! Bravo to Smartfin – can’t wait to get my own, maybe a windsurf model so I can help monitor local lakes in Finland? At the Micro:bit Foundation we’ll look into doing a series on how kids can get involved with monitoring their environment in the future.
@Zach, it is an amazing project. I wanted to let you know that if you have a strong interest in combining open source hardware and environmental issues that you should check out Public Lab. They are a non-profit organization uniting scientists and citizen scientists around the world working with tech (as well as low tech 🙂 ). You will find plenty of great hardware examples that include anything from Raspberry Pi for aerial photography to DIY spectrometers. Wishing you luck with your education programs!