Trawl Net Cam (Smeltcam) prototype’s successful maiden voyage

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A huge debt of gratitude is owed to California’s Fish and Wildlife Bay Delta Region for the opportunity last week to run the newest iteration of the Smeltcam. The device captured full tracks of many hundreds of fish including about one hundred Delta Smelt.  New for this device is the addition of a YSI EXO1 Sonde (water quality sensor), which allowed the device to stamp each object with salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, GPS and many other variables.


The hardware was much easier to deploy because of the weight being only 1/3 of the previous version of the device. Software also proved to be more robust, not relying on Windows, but embedded Linux and microcontrollers for precise sensor-to-object correlation and overall robustness. The system is completely independent of a laptop, only relying on it to view the live data stream, sensor data and previous objects.

The next steps, along with continued software improvements, are a fresh anodize (paint job), installation of the depth sensor, and simplification of the ballast system.

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