Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have taken a step towards building low-cost networks of underwater sensors for environmental monitoring.
While the navy has employed expensive sonar systems in the past, scientists are calling for cost-effective sensor technology that can be used to capture and transmit environmental data back to land in real time.
Bridget Benson, who is leading the project at UC San Diego, says a team is building a low-power modem for short-range underwater networking.
She said: "Working underwater means you don’t have access to a wall socket for plug-in power.
"Our idea is to make the sensor and modem hardware as energy efficient as possible."
The researchers looked at three different hardware platforms: digital signal processors, microcontrollers and reconfigurable hardware, concluding that the latter was the most effective.
UC San Diego recently launched a wireless healthcare innovation challenge, aiming to find the best ways of using the latest wireless technology to address global healthcare challenges.