It’s a go ahead for new design development and configuration for the established OceanWorks International observatory communication nodes, thanks to approved funding from The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
The OceanWorks Subsea Instrument Interface Modules (SIIM), or junction boxes originally were developed for the Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) Neptune and Venus observatories, where they have been in place since 2006. There is a total of 14 junction boxes that have been delivered to ONC for deployment on both Neptune and Venus. Three more junction boxes are being delivered to ONC for implementation this year, for a total of 17.
Simply put, nodes, acting as branches and connection points, are incorporated into the cable system at intervals to allow for subsea connection by a remotely operated vehicle of a variety of sensors and instruments. Data is fed back to a central data processing and control center with 24/7/365 data gathering and recording capability. It allows researchers to operate instruments remotely and receive data at their home laboratories anywhere on the globe in real time.
Why the new engineering? “OceanWorks is proposing a radical new design that reduces the overall weight of the system by half, which significantly improves the ability to deploy the system with smaller and therefore cheaper vessels,” said Menno Huizinga, OceanWorks Project Manager. “The new design will also simplify a costly permanent connection between the node and the backbone cable. An option for a removeable connection is being developed which allows for far more flexibility in node deployment location.”
The selection of instrumentation is virtually unlimited with power and control connections made with the use of the OceanWorks nodes and junction boxes. This is a new advancement in Seafloor Observatory systems technology.