UC Berkeley tests floating robot sensors to track water flow, environmental concerns

The sensors are built with GPS-enabled smartphones

It's been a couple of years and a couple of million dollars. Finally, researchers and graduate students who have spent years developing intelligent water sensors released them into the Sacramento River on Wednesday, about 80 miles east of San Francisco.

That area of the river is a mixture of salt water from the nearby San Francisco Bay area. Altogether, the water within the Delta region supplies two-thirds of California's drinking water.

Researchers hope that their sensors will be able to help track environmental spills and the flow of water, which could also help improve salmon spawning.

"This is the way of the future," said Alexandre Bayen, associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley who is supervising the project, called the Floating Sensor Network. "We're moving from an age when humans were deploying things and baby-sitting them to an age where you just put the robots in the water, they do their job, they come back or they call you if they have a problem."

Watch a video of the sensors entering the water, here.

Some of the sensors are equipped with Android smart phones inside their waterproof cases. A few of them auto-post to Twitter whenever they are in use. Check @fsnandroid61.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University, The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory helped with the project.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kerry Davis

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?