When I was in my 20's, as an eager electrical engineer graduate, I worked for a company that provided oceanographic services. I spent a lot of my time at sea, it was a brutal job here in the harsh North Atlantic. The weather was usually terrible and we were operating hundreds of kilometers from shore. There's one day in March I'll never forget. Standing on the stern of the supply vessel, cold and soaking wet with the deck awash from a rogue wave, I was thinking about getting home. That wave almost knocked me off my feet. There was still no sign of our equipment. Finding a miniature speck of yellow on the horizon among waves seemed impossible. The equipment that was deployed a few months ago had not made its ascent back to the surface and we were all wondering if it would re-appear. We had been waiting for almost two weeks on board for a weather window to recover our gear. Had the release units failed? Had the moorings been dragged by a trawler? The batteries had run out about a week ago. Empty batteries and lost equipment meant lost data and lost revenue for our company. We made huge sacrifices and took big risks to gather this data - there had to be a better way.
I returned from that trip with a renewed respect for the power of the ocean. In 2007 I was approached by Memorial university - Dr. Vlastimil Masek asked me if I'd like to help him develop a power harvesting system that would reduce and perhaps eliminate the regular trips to replace batteries and recover our gear. I jumped on it - after 8 years of research and development, we had our technology and Seaformatics was founded.
Seaformatics Systems Inc. is a Canadian company that designs and manufactures power harvesting and wireless communication products for the ocean monitoring industry. We’re working hard to enable low cost, reliable, real time and long term subsurface monitoring of oceans, rivers and lakes.
Our products and expertise are the result of a multidisciplinary Research and Development project at Memorial University of Newfoundland which began in 2007 with funding provided by ACOA (AIF Program) and a number of other organizations. The resultant technologies incorporate
- a patented water turbine that harvests power from ocean currents,
- a sensor interface subsystem for data collection and storage,
- an acoustic modem that enables data communications between units, surface buoys and cellular/satellite network, and
- a release mechanism for recovery.
Prototypes have been successfully tested in the lab, flume tank, and for over 1400 days in real world field environments. In total, approximately $4 Million has been invested on the development and testing of Seaformatics technologies.