This Sunday (April 17th, 2011), a team of four army officers from Swanton Morley, UK, will set off on a 3,100-mile (4,999-km) rowing expedition from Australia to the island of Mauritius, located east of Madagascar. They hope to raise GBP 100,000 (US$163,236) for charity as they row in two-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, for – hopefully – somewhere under 68 days. Accompanying them on their trip, however, will be some newly-developed miniaturized sensors, which will be gathering oceanographic data along the way.
Fitted onto the boat, the sensors will be measuring the ocean's temperature and salinity, as part of a study on climate change. They were created by Electronics and Computer Science professors Hywel Morgan and Xi Huang of the University of Southampton, and Dr. Matt Mowlem of Southampton's National Oceanography Centre.
While there are already sensors that can measure the same parameters, Morgan claims that they are considerably larger, and that no miniature sensors can match the precision of the measurements obtainable by the Southampton sensors.
The expedition will allow the scientists to see how the devices could stand up to use in applications such as ocean meteorology, water quality monitoring, and as fish tags. They are currently working on commercializing the technology.