Underwater sensor prevents drowning – IoT World Today
The motion tracker was created to be completely waterproof without compromising the user experience
A newly developed underwater sensor offers new possibilities for tracking swimmers and divers, monitoring their movements to identify moments of distress and alerting shore crews to potential drownings.
The design comes from a team at Fuzhou University in China and is one of the first times a device has been created that is waterproof, conductive, breathable and easy to wear. Existing designs rely on thick safety insulation which makes clothing bulky and uncomfortable.
To create the amphibious tracker, the team used a thin layer of a flexible, conductive fabric known as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and tested its water repellency when applied to a fabric sensor.
The first tests of the new design involved placing a sample of the fabric on a study participant’s finger before dipping it in water and having the participant wiggle the finger. The results showed that the coated fabric was conductive and water-repellent, but still breathable and therefore, supposedly, comfortable.
In secondary testing, the device was attached to a motorized doll programmed to kick or stay still, with sensor response monitored. The sensor was built into a smartphone that sends alerts when a swimmer stops moving or shows erratic movement, with the device correctly identifying when the doll was stationary and when she was moving, sending a red alert to the connected smartphone when ‘no movement has been detected. .
The design could provide an easy-to-use portable safety accessory for divers embarking on safety or maintenance missions, with constant communication between these workers and the shore often difficult to maintain.