"Small, smart and powerful," are a few of the adjectives UMass Dartmouth Marine Science Professor Louis Goodman uses to describe the new device he is building to gather data from the ocean.
Goodman, recipient of a $40,000 Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center grant, is collaborating with Brooke Ocean Technology USA (www.brooke-oceanusa.com) on the one-year project. They are designing a prototype of the H-PUP (Hybrid Programmable Underwater Profiler) with an eye towards its commercialization.
"We view the H-PUP as a revolutionary new and relatively low cost way of conducting marine measurements," said Goodman, director of SMAST's Marine turbulence Laboratory (http://www.smast.umassd.edu/Turbulence/). The tool combines the capabilities of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), a torpedo-like robot, with a vertical profiler, a more conventional means of gathering underwater measurements.
What makes the H-PUP unique, Goodman said, is that unlike other profilers, it can operate both horizontally and vertically while carrying acoustic, video and environmental sensors. The vehicle also eliminates the need for a line or tether to be dropped to collect data.
The partners are excited about the potential global market for small programmable profilers and AUVs. Roger Race, general manager of Brooke Ocean Technology USA, located at the Quest Center business incubator in New Bedford, cited a Douglass-Westwood study showing possible market growth into the billion dollar range. "We fully intend to build and market this new hybrid vehicle to the global market. As our company grows, we hope to be able to continue to create more new jobs in New Bedford," Race said.
The U.S. and foreign military and civilian agencies, homeland security, energy and environmental industries and research institutes comprise the likely principal customers.
The parties involved laud the university/business collaboration.
"It's a wonderful combination of superb engineers and a 'can do' company like Brooke Ocean Technology," Goodman said. "We each bring our strengths in science and engineering to make a marriage of different organizations that works."
"We could not ask for a better partnership," said Race, who noted that the two groups previously received a $70,000 grant from the Navy to design and build launch and recovery systems for AUVs.
"This project is an excellent example of university intellectual property and a successful collaboration with industry," said Louis Petrovic, director of the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center (ATMC).