Proteus - Low Cost Persistent Environmental Measurement System
Navy SBIR FY2018.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2018.1
Topic No.: N181-012
Topic Title: Proteus - Low Cost Persistent Environmental Measurement System
Proposal No.: N181-012-1084
Firm: Boston Engineering Corporation
300 Bear Hill Rd
Waltham, Massachusetts 2451
Contact: Andrew Keefe
Phone: (781) 466-8010
Web Site:
Abstract: With Proteus, our world class team proposes to leverage our extensive experience, existing technology, and a unique approach to deliver a low-cost, long lasting, multiple-profile oceanographic sensing and measurement device. Our experience in expendable dropsondes provides a baseline for an updated tactically relevant solution. Based on previous developments in the dropsonde area and similar R&D efforts that increase the TRL by leveraging existing technologies, we can show feasibility in the short term while also hitting aggressive long term cost targets. Driven by a prime contractor with over 20 years of proven success commercializing technologies including maritime devices, Proteus promises success for NAVAIR and future transition partners. Our team and network of connections to the user community provide reduced risk with increased probability of transition. Proteus provides a persistent (12 months) solution that provides easily backhauled environmental, acoustic, thermal, and optic/turbidity data through 1000 ft water columns at tens of dollars per profile. PH I will define the system design and test critical subsystems, enabling PH II success through use of our existing capabilities and technology in the oceanographic, dropsonde, and sensor markets and a focus on the main challenges of this specific development (persistence and cost).
Benefits: Oceanographic research requires a level of persistence that is unachievable (with reasonable cost) by research vessels. The endless movement of currents, animal lifecycles and migrations, and subsurface terrain changes (seafloor, reefs, etc.) requires monitoring over long durations (from months to decades). Some fielded instruments provide this data when they are attached to fixed platforms but are restricted to small sampling areas. Current mobile platforms that provide subsurface oceanographic sensing are expensive; UUVs and gliders cost 100â?Ts of thousands of dollars. Dropsondes and other buoys that are passive, distributed, and battery-operated, provide a more appealing intersection of collected data and cost. We propose to leverage extensive experience, existing technology, a proven compressed gas based variable buoyancy system, a suite of low cost sensors, and a proven communications network interface to fill the technical gaps for the Navy. We will additionally leverage our vast experience in commercializing technologies attain specified cost-per-profile targets. Boston Engineeringâ?Ts success in developing products and systems requiring Design for Manufacturability (DFM) and Design for Serviceability (DFS), coupled with the companyâ?Ts reputation for rapid time to market delivery reduces risk for its customers and partners, sets this project up for success. As proposed, we see opportunities for other commercial applications. We expect the Oil and Gas industry to be interested in high fidelity ocean models to monitor health of distributed sensor sets, as well as calibrate ocean floor mounted sensing stations. We expect the Oil and Gas industry to be interested in the security applications available from a mobile acoustic sensor capable of operation in targeted thermoclines. We expect large scale fishing companies and fish monitoring agencies to be interested in fish school motion, building models to help predict fish school motion. We also foresee that the National Marine Fisheries Service would benefit from the availability of an affordable and persistent system for oceanographic information in their work classifying marine spawning areas. With the introduction of other key sensors, we see a broadening range of commercial applications benefiting from the proposed development. With the introduction of a targeted hydrophone, the diving and salvage industry would be interested in acoustically mapping thermoclines, and with the addition of pollutant monitors, various agencies would be interested to increase modeling of waste material dispersion into oceans.