Subsea Data Systems teams with University of Hawai`i to support new SMART Cable project

1/7/2022

Subsea Data Systems, Inc., a new partnership between Samara/Data and Ocean Specialists, Inc., is pleased to announce their participation in a new 5-year project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to support the University of Hawai`i’s SMART Cable efforts. SMART (Sensor Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunications) Cables include sensor-enabled repeaters (amplifiers) that will be incorporated into future trans-oceanic internet cables. The new grant supports the development of a new SMART Cable between New Caledonia and Vanuatu in the southwest Pacific Ocean, which will provide essential monitoring for tsunami and earthquake early warning. It also supports a series of modeling efforts to better understand hazard warning improvements that can be achieved by deploying SMART cables, local training and workforce development for the system, and the establishment of a new SMART Cable international project office at the University of Hawai`i.

“We’re excited to partner with Lead Investigator Dr. Bruce Howe and the rest of the team to support this important new project. The Subsea Data Systems team, particularly Chief Technology Officer Steve Lentz, has been deeply involved in the conceptual development of SMART Cables for several years. Support from a major philanthropic organization like the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation provides further recognition of the essential need for SMART Cables, particularly in regions of high risk and low resiliency,” said Matt Fouch, President of Subsea Data Systems.

SMART Cables are an innovative real-time deep ocean monitoring technology that will facilitate fundamental improvements in Tsunami Early Warning (TEW), Earthquake Early Warning (EEW), global climate monitoring and telecommunications resiliency. The innovation is to tightly integrate sensors into the amplifiers (“repeaters”) used to boost signals in the optical fibers. Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components will be utilized for nearly all physical elements of the system. The research-grade package includes a 3-axis accelerometer, absolute pressure gauge, and temperature sensor, integrated with data acquisition circuits with suitable dynamic range and precision, a common communications module, an interface suitable for fiber optic cable spans up to 120 km in length, software and firmware necessary to support the data path, an isolated power source, and precision timing. The SMART repeater design is modular, allowing different sensors, adaptation to different repeater housings, or use as a standalone unit.

The development and deployment of SMART Cables will enhance scientific understanding of Earth’s oceans, seafloor, and subsurface via a fundamentally new approach to long-term subsea sensor network deployments. SMART Cables will therefore provide essential new data to reduce disaster risk and improve global climate understanding, thereby reducing societal and environmental vulnerabilities to these long- and short-term threats.

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