Final Project Concept

My final project title is "surFABoard."


I have been surfing for ten years. Since I do only on weekends, I have not been able to improve my surfing skills much. I've been surfing at the same spot all the time; I can easily feel that changes in the landscape, the location and the time of the sunrise, seawater temperature and turbidity depending on the seasons. Based on those experiences, I increased my environmental awareness after I started surfing. After a surf session, I occasionally pick up some garbage on the coast, but I had a desire in my mind that I could do more.


One day I found a surfboard fin picture on a web article of top scientific journal "Science" magazine. I never expected to see that coming. It was the "Smartfin." The Smartfin is a surfboard fin embedded with electronic sensors such as GPS, temperature, pH, etc., with which it can measure various ocean properties to monitor the ocean health. Surfers don't need to do anything special but have fun with surf. They can contribute to data collection by just surfing with the fin! The idea is great! I got interested and wanted to get it and try it myself.

Credit: Science Magazine


There are problems. I emailed Surfrider Foundation to see if I could get or buy a Smartfin but I couldn't get any response up to now. I think the Smartfin is not for everyone yet.
Another problem is the placement of the fin on the board. There are two major surfboard fin suppliers, FCS (Fin Control System) and Futures. The shape of fin box is entirely different, and they are not exchangeable. FCS has the majority of market share, and my surfboard fin box also uses FCS. On the other hand, Smartfin is Futures fin box. Even if I can get the fin, I need a conversion adapter to attach it to my board. That is cumbersome.



Smartfin is neatly embedded with sensors, and the design is very smart, but I believe it is essential to make the fin accessible for more surfers to collect oceanographic data. Furthermore, it is desirable to be able to use it regardless of the fin box design.
So, my final project is to design an ocean monitoring system that can be more accessible for surfers who are interested. The concept is shown in the picture below.


The surFABoard consists of a microcontroller and sensors inside a watertight enclosure. Since there is a concern that whether the GPS module can work properly in the water, I am also thinking about separating the GPS module and other sensors to avoid that concern. In that case, two microcontrollers will communicate each other via Bluetooth.The data acquired by sensors will be logged into the SD card and can be analyzed later. Those data can be visualized by GPSVisualaiser etc.
In the future, I would like to provide Web services that can share data all over the world.