Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Networking the Hudson

Data from the river will create a model for environmental monitoring.

A research consortium that includes the Beacon Institute, IBM, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute plans to distribute hundreds of sensors throughout the Hudson River. By collecting information on everything from salinity and temperature to oxygen levels and the presence of fish schools, the sensors will help create a “virtual river” that can aid scientists monitoring aquatic life and pollution levels.

River watch: In this artist’s rendering, a solar-powered autonomous underwater vehicle (foreground) joins forces with fixed sensors tethered to buoys (background).

Some sensors are likely to be mounted on a novel, solar-powered underwater robot developed by RPI, the Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute in Lee, NH, and Falmouth Scientific in Cataumet, MA. Other sensors will be fixed to buoys and suspended at various depths. In some cases, fiber-optic cables will convey data to the surface, where it will be sent ashore wirelessly. “This project is without a doubt a huge advancement [in sensor networks] and is on a much larger scale than anything that has been done before,” says Sandra Nierzwicki­-Bauer, a freshwater biologist at RPI and a leader of the effort.

This story is part of our November/December 2007 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Because of its scale, the network will demand a massive new data-­analysis system, which IBM will provide. One goal is rapid response to changing conditions, such as a sewage release or a drop in oxygen that could kill fish. Completing the design will take more than a year, but the first sensors will be placed in the river in early 2008. The full installation is expected to take three years.

Weren’t able to make it to the Business of Blockchain event this year? Catch up with our coverage of the event.

Watch video now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.