Keysight Connected Kelp: Using the IoT to Ensure Ocean Safety

2019-04-01  |  6 min read 

Written by Amelia Williams, Keysight Safe Ocean Development Team

Unlike winning the lottery, disasters are a common occurrence in life. It’s not a matter of if they will happen, but when, especially when it comes to the ocean. Who hasn’t heard a scary story about a recent shark or alligator attack, an accidental drowning, or some other ocean-related disaster? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings occur in the United States alone. Yet despite the risk, there are still over 130 million people per year in the U.S. who participate in outdoor swimming activities (source: National Survey on Recreation and the Environment). While the threat of disaster may be real, thanks to Keysight Technologies, the risk doesn’t have to be.

In a months-long pioneering research and development effort, Keysight has discovered a way to harness low-power IoT and bio-engineering to protect people in and around the ocean. Created and tested in our state-of-the-art Silicon Valley IoT lab, Keysight Connected Kelp offers protection through connected seaweed to ocean goers worldwide. These “forests” of connected seaweed are held together with natural algae and embedded with a network of IoT devices optimized to last up to 30 years. Each of the IoT-enabled seaweed strands can measure weather conditions, rip currents, animal activity, and more.

One of the more unique aspects of the revolutionary new smart seaweed is the ability of the embedded sensors to self-replicate using the naturally occurring iron around them. With the sensors prone to degradation in harsh ocean conditions, this capability is essential for maintaining a constant web of protection. The sensors utilize WiFi@Sea, the wireless communication industry’s newest wireless local ocean network (WLON) standard, to ensure continuous connectivity.

Perhaps the most innovative feature of Keysight’s new Connected Kelp is its ultra-long battery life. Early on in the development process, Keysight’s elite team of researchers realized they needed an out of the box way to enable this feature and turned to an innovative solution—harvesting energy from electric eels, one of the few animals on the planet that can make, store, and discharge electricity. This approach, coupled with the use of Keysight’s own X8712A IoT Device Battery Life Optimization Solution for event-based power consumption analysis, allowed researchers to achieve the target 30-year battery life easily.

According to Dan O’Shunpier, lead engineer on Keysight’s Safe Ocean development team, “Achieving the optimal balance between sensor performance, rich data collection, and long device life is challenging, especially in aquatic environments. Ensuring reliable power to IoT sensors in this environment requires innovation in long-term battery life, and that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished today.”

When asked for comment regarding the Connected Kelp product, Neptune Douglas, ocean analyst and part-time big wave surfer, stated, “Dude, whether high tide or low tide, we are all much safer today knowing Keysight’s new product will soon be by our side.”

Keysight Connected Kelp: Protection through Connection

Keysight’s new Connected Kelp product is available today, April 1. A video on the new product is available here. Also launching today is Keysight’s first ever wireless oscilloscope probe—watch the launch video here.

Wait… did you notice? Happy April Fool’s Day!

While we aren’t launching the (unfortunately) fictional Keysight Connected Kelp product today, we are launching the Keysight IoT Innovation Challenge. And we’re not fooling around! It’s an exciting new design competition challenging undergraduate and graduate students in eligible countries around the globe to come up with just one big and innovative idea to make the world better for billions. To win the up to $50,000 USD cash prize and up to $50,000 USD in select Keysight test equipment, student competitors will need to innovate low-power IoT to make crowded cities more livable or intelligently monitor waterways to ensure clean water. Who knows, maybe one of them will actually make connected kelp a reality.

To participate in the design competition or just join in the fun by voting for your favorite entry, register today at: Registration opens at 9:00 AM PDT. One idea is all it takes.