Opportunistically “Crowdsurfing” Oceanographic Data

The SmartFin is a surfboard surfin embedded with a number of sensors that allow it to be opportunistically used to gather oceanographic data. The idea is to “crowdsource” the data from surfers all over the globe. This allows us to create fine-grained spatial and temporal sampling strategies to provide data that will ultimately help us better understand complex near-shore environment.

UCSD CSE undergraduate and Engineers for Exploration leader Jasmine Simmons is leading a team in our Engineers for Exploration program working to make the SmartFin even smarter. She has been working closely with oceanographer Phil Bresnahan to create the next version of the SmartFin. One of the major goals is to add the ability to use the SmartFin as a wave sensor. The goal to extract information about the ocean waves (frequency, amplitude, …) from the data gathered from the SmartFin inertial measurement unit (IMU). This is a challenging problem since the IMU data is noisy and the surfer may not always be in a position to collect good data about ocean waves. They are working on developing digital signal processing algorithms to extract the wave data from the sensors on the SmartFin.

Get SMART: Peter Tueller Awarded Prestigious DoD Scholarship

The Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) program is a US Department of Defense (DoD) scholarship aimed at training top talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. SMART fellows are paired with a DoD institution where they spend the summers working on research and then transition into those labs after graduation.

As part of the scholarship, Peter will continue his research with the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific. Peter’s research looks at how to better use autonomous vehicles (drones and underwater vehicles) to create large scale 3D models. He was been doing research with NIWC Pacific — a large San Diego Navy research facility — for the past couple of years. SMART will allow him to continue this collaboration both during his PhD and after.

Peter is not the first SMART student in our lab. Dr. Chris Barngrover was given a SMART scholarship to fund his PhD thesis on developing novel technologies for finding mines in sonar images. Chris also worked with NIWC Pacific (then SPAWAR).