COMMON SENSE

The FNOB collaborates on the Common Sense project, aimed at developing sensors which can be fitted onto every type of boat, to collect vital data in the bid to find out more about the world’s oceans.

Almost 40 months of work came together at the FNOB Ocean Sailing Base in Barcelona with a final test-run of the devices.

The great challenge of this project is to produce sensors which can be manufactured at a reasonable cost, which automate the operations involved in measuring and sharing data in real time via an easily accessible web platform. With installation costs reduced, easy operation and data-processing, such sensors could be used on a broad range of boats and ships in a variety of contexts.

The sensors tested at the FNOB Ocean sailing base provide data on water eutrophication levels (nutrient enrichment of the ecosystem), the concentration of heavy metals and microplastics, underwater noise pollution and other parameters, such as temperature and ocean water pressure. All of this information is invaluable in the bid to understand more about what is going on in our oceans and in the quest to design solutions to protect this essential ingredient to life on Earth. The ocean is a vital organ which is not only home to an enormous array of species, but also acts as a second lung for the planet by absorbing a huge amount of the world’s CO2  emissions.

The Common Sense project is keen to join forces with the fleet of IMOCA yachts. Didac Costa’s project in the Vendée Globe 2016/17 was used to develop a smaller version of the sensors which was adapted to the hostile environmental conditions and rough handling of a racing yacht, especially those which sail round the world and venture into more remote waters, for which little data is available.

Didac’s experience with the Common Sense sensor sealed a number of project objectives. The device was easily fitted and carried and didn’t create any issues for the skipper, even when sailing solo. This experience was part of the framework of objectives set out in the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 and 2014/15: a pioneering commitment to transform the IMOCA fleet into a platform for data capture in some of the world’s most remote waters and to give sailors the opportunity to act as scientific agents as they circumnavigate the globe.

The COMMON SENSE project is coordinated by the Centro Tecnológico Leitat and brings together a consortium of 15 members from seven different countries, offering knowhow and expertise in the sea monitoring sector.

Also on board with the project, alongside the FNOB are: Aquatt UETP Ltd (Ireland), the Spanish National Research Council – CSIC (Spain), the Italian National Research Council – CNR ( Italy), Dropsens S.L. (Spain),  Dublin City University (Ireland), the Cyril And Methodius University in Skopje (Former Yugloslav Republic of Macedonia), Idronaut (Italy), the Instytut Oceanologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk – IO PAN (Poland),  University College Cork, National University Of Ireland (Ireland), Simulacions Optiques Sl – SNELLOPTICS (Spain), Subctech Gmbh (Germany), T.E. Laboratories Limited (Ireland) and the Secretary Of State For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs – CEFAS (UK).

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