2021 was a tough year for many and our hearts go out to everyone affected by COVID-19. AusOcean was fortunate compared to other organizations that were severely impacted by the pandemic. For the most part, we were able to continue our development and operations. The biggest impact was on Network Blue, our school program, as for part of the year we were unable to work in schools. We used that time to completely revamp our school materials and migrate them to the Moodle platform.
On the operations front, other key milestones included:
- Completing initial underwater audio experiments at the Glenelg shellfish reef.
- Deploying the first underwater camera at Rapid Bay, our "jetty cam", with crowd-sourced funds.
- Deploying a rig at Stony Point to monitor the world's largest congregation of Australian giant cuttlefish.
- First steps towards monitoring the new O'Sullivan's Beach shellfish reef.
- Running a design competition in conjunction with Adelaide University for our future facility.
- Adding Whyalla High School and Heathfield High School to the Network Blue program.
On the tech front, key achievements included:
- An antenna aligner to maintain stable rig-to-shore communications.
- Integrating dissolved oxygen (DO) and salinity sensor support into our rig.
- Prototyping a low-cost hydrophone.
- Prototyping a low-cost underwater power connection.
- Improvements to our underwater camera, e.g., pressure-equalizing baffle and an improved Pi camera inner enclosure.
- Improvements to our software stack, in particular, our VidGrind cloud platform, with search improvements, audio playback, YouTube broadcast control (via the YouTube API), and much more.
Wishing you a fantastic 2022 from the whole AusOcean crew!