Don’t panic! There’s no need to get the harpoon out – this Kraken is man made. The pupils at Sutton Grammar School made an ocean drifter to measure wave parameters and currents and aptly named it the Kraken. The main concept behind the buoy is its primary usage as an oil response unit which aims to make it easier for oil companies to clean up spills quickly and effectively.
It was released on Sunday 7th April off the coast of East Anglia, with the aim measuring wave amplitude and frequency. It was a proof of concept buoy with a second to be deployed by the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) betweens the coasts of Scotland and Iceland in May.
The Kraken’s progress across both seas can be viewed here
Here’s the electronic wizardry bit:-
The electronics are based around an Atmel Atmega 328 and use a uBlox GPS for positioning. The RockBLOCK Satellite Modem was easily configured for use on the buoy and for very simple satellite communications. The relatively low power was also a big bonus as the pupils wanted the Kraken to be at sea for as long as possible.
The team were originally involved in high altitude balloon launches. However, with the introduction of affordable
satellite transceivers, building Ocean Drifters is another vehicle that students can use to develop and hone their engineering skills.
Back at the school a Raspberry Pi has been employed to help display the Kraken’s journey on a monitor in one of the school’s corridors. The entire school is watching to see where the sea monster will end up.
Want to know more? Then visit the website
We have a few hundred GPS modules that need a good home. Originally built for a tracking project, they’ve served their purpose and now we’d like to offer them to you at a low price. They play very nicely with Arduino, as shown in the photos below. And Raspberry PI too, of course.
Based on the AARLogin GPS-3T module, they use the SiRF III chipset and have a built-in active antenna. Our little PCB also provides some big capacitors to maintain the GPS almanac in case you choose to switch the power off for a few hours – this means a much faster fix when you wake it up.
Connected straight to an Arduino UNO:
Note that the cable assembly comes with it, but the tail ends are unterminated. All you need to know is:
Black – Ground
Red – 3.3V
Brown – Sleep (pull low to power-save GPS)
Yellow – TX
Blue – RX
A really simple Arduino sketch to get started:
Output is standard 9600 baud serial NMEA sentences. There’s an excellent GPS NMEA decoder library for Arduino here which works with this module.
We’re offering them at £12 each. Click here to buy yours. When they’re gone, they’re gone!read more
Just a quick note to say that we’ve updated the RockBLOCK Developer guide to include some more detailed information about input current consumption. You’ll find the new version in the Downloads section, or here.read more
This week (Tuesday 9th – Thursday 11th April) we will be exhibiting at Ocean Business 2013, in Southampton.
On display will be our RockSTAR units, ideal for tracking fleets of vessels, buoys, and remote workers.
Also being demonstrated is the RockBLOCK – a simple-to-use plug and play unit which allows you to add two-way communications to your remote sensors. If you operate equipment which is regularly out of GSM coverage, and you need reliable two-way communications, the RockBLOCK could well be the answer!
We’re on stand W43 – please come along and say hello!
For more information see the official event websiteread more
Rock Seven is exhibiting on stand 48 at the EGU2013 meeting this week – if you’re in Vienna at the conference, please come and have a chat to us, and see the RockBLOCK in action. We’d love to spend some time showing you what it can do!read more
A new RockBLOCK Product Information Sheet has been added to the Downloads section. It’s designed as a simple two-page information sheet to describe what the RockBLOCK does, and how it can benefit you.read more
We’d like to thank one of our earliest customers, Razvan Dragomirescu, for his work with RockBLOCK so far. He’s the creator of a new service called Veri.Fi, which is a clever way of making an http request where the return value is based on the real-time response from a real live human. A bit more about that later – it’s due to launch in February.
Razvan has been testing just about every function of RockBLOCK. He’s asked us a few questions we weren’t expecting, helped us to iron out some bugs in our management and billing systems, and made some good suggestions to improve our documentation. He’s also developed a really good Node.js library, which he’s happy to contribute back to the RockBLOCK community.
You can download the library here:
If you find it useful, please let us know! If you don’t know much about Node.js or why you might choose to use it (we didn’t), these articles will help:
The RockBLOCK shop is now officially open.
It’s taken a little longer than we originally anticipated to get everything together, as you can see from the various articles below, but we now know exactly when the units will be arriving with us, and then subsequently when we can ship them to you.
Timescale for delivery as follows:
- RockBLOCK ‘Naked’ PCB versions will be shipping on 17th December
- RockBLOCK ‘Rugged’ external versions will be shipping one month later in January 2013, most likely around the 17/18th
You can order directly from the website, click the ‘Buy’ link at the top.
Our initial test team have been working hard with some prototype units out in the field, and the initial feedback has been really positive – we can’t wait to see what you are going to do with them!
Once again, thanks for your patience!read more
We have now published the Web Services Guide for the RockBLOCK. As per the Developers Guide, this is a work in progress document, but hopefully should cover all the major points you will need to get started.
The first boards are going out to early adopters this week, so hopefully we’ll get the snagging out of the way fairly quickly, and then we’ll be able to open up the shop.
The Rugged units are likely to be a little longer than anticipated – we’re expecting to be able to start selling the Naked units properly towards the end of November (early adopters will get their boards earlier) and the Rugged units will be into December now… hopefully in time for a nice Christmas present. We’re working as hard as we can to get these things out, we promise…read more
We’re just getting ready to ship our first RockBLOCK ‘naked’ boards, so we’ve released a first draft of our Developer’s Guide. You can download it here.
This is a work in progress, so we need YOU to tell us what else you need to know.
A successful integration of the RockBLOCK does involve a pretty good understanding of the Iridium 9602, and the Iridium SBD service. You won’t find all the answers in this document, so you’re also encouraged to read it in conjunction with the Iridium 9602 Developer’s Guide, here.
Stay tuned – we’ll be publishing a guide to the RockBLOCK web delivery services tomorrow!read more