A shark? A shoal of herring? A submarine? Anything that moves in the water exerts pressure on this liquid environment. These disturbances reveal a lot about the agents that cause them — such as their size, direction and speed.
Fish have a remarkable ability to sense and interpret these variations in their immediate surroundings. The LAKHSMI project aims to produce simple, inexpensive technology inspired by this skill, using sensor cables in lieu of lateral lines to measure fleeting pressure changes from the ocean floor. This equipment will hook up to ocean observatories and similar monitoring stations, producing a steady stream of data.
The data collected in this way could be used in areas as diverse as oceanography, harbour security and the production of renewable energy. The project partners are developing a number of online information products along with applications notably designed to monitor marine traffic or track schools of fish. They intend to integrate these software interfaces into large-scale initiatives such as the European Global Ocean Observing system (EUROGOOS).