Kelp Smart Buoy

Modular and affordable aquatic environmental monitoring system

Customer: Hyper Kelp
Industry: Commercial and Defense
Services: Engineering, Analysis &  Manufacturing
Mandate from NOAA

Provide products and services for high quality, affordable, Internet of Things (IoT) enabled, multi-functional, water sensor solution that was adaptable to changing needs of the global marine business market.

Expense is the most limiting factor in aquatic environmental monitoring systems.  The cost of purchasing expensive proprietary devices or the amount of human involvement to either deploy, process, repair, and troubleshoot is both costly and time-consuming. Expensive, bulky devices greatly limit the number of systems that many businesses can afford and require expensive infrastructure to process their data.

The ability to monitor water quality and/or the aquatic environment remotely and in near real-time is extremely useful.   Allowing business to focus their time and human resources on interpreting data and empowering decision-makers is a game changer for a wide variety of marine applications. 

Introducing the KELP water quality sensor

The solution to the problem was the KELP water quality sensor.  Once we started on this project, and after discussions with customers at NOAA, Seagrant, and Defense Primes we realized there was a huge hole in the market – specifically in modular, affordable systems.  There was also a need for a similar dual use system capable of servicing defense customers. 

The product was so in-demand we were scouted by Techstars and Lockheed Martin to form a separate Defense focused company HyperKelp.  We spun the company out from Swift in 2021 to capitalize on the flexibility and affordability of the Kelp systems.  HyperKelp is now servicing customers in markets as diverse as missile detection for the DoD and environmental monitoring for local ports and harbors.

Goals of the project

  1. Application Driven: informs the user and provides measures of condition or performance relevant to the end-user;
  2. Low Cost:  Using existing technologies Kelp will undercut competitors by at least 50%
  3. Minimal Deployment Effort: A buoy must be easily deployed and configured by a single person.
  4. Adaption: The Kelp can evolve with enhancements in technology and community needs through its open source nature.
  5. Modular: the initial system and sensor suite can be modified/ ongoing to meet user requirements. 

  6. Remote Control: Kelp will provide a remotely accessible user interface, backend data management and set of simple tools for a user to view and manipulate their data and monitor/manage the Kelp. 

  7. Robustness/durability: Kelp will be robust enough to withstand harsh conditions without failures over an extended period of deployment.
  8. Small environmental footprint: Kelp will be constructed such that components can be recycled/reused once a deployment is over.  Kelp must not negatively impact the environment around it.