The Technology Development Group has a long history of developing, building and deploying innovative instrumentation in remote and difficult environments. The work of the group is often done in support of the science of other groups within SAMS and elsewhere. In addition the group also undertakes work for its own projects which are concerned with developing promising technologies for applications in marine science.
The group works within the context of Oceans 2025 (Theme 8) towards an optimal marine observing network. Specific work packages are focussing on sensor optimisation, smart in situ data processing, platforms and communications. The work complements other Oceans 2025 work, both at SAMS (notably with the physics and geochemistry groups) and at other NERC-supported institutes.
The group is also actively engaged in the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland which aims to increase collaboration in projects between other member institutions.
The Technology Development Group has a number of areas of particular expertise: A long-standing area of work has been the development of a variety of drifting buoys. A typical application is for tracking of sea-ice movements and high resolution tracking of coastal currents. These buoys have combined technologies such as GPS, satellite communications and advanced low power microprocessors in order to collect a wide range of environmental data sets from the oceans and the poles. The group is also becoming experienced in designing and building various platforms for sea-ice installations. This work includes novel sensing techniques and the mechanical design of robust and easily deployable buoys which can withstand severe conditions in sea-ice. Another area of considerable activity is sensor integration onto existing platforms such as autonomous vehicles and moored profilers.
Many of the designs which come out of the groups work are suitable for commercialisation. This has proven successful on a small scale and is an area which is being developed such that many of the group's products can be sold or out-sourced.
The facilities for technology development at SAMS are very good. The group benefits from modern computer-aided-design software and has well equipped laboratories. For polar installation testing the group has recently built a large cold room to simulate Arctic and Antarctic conditions. For sea trials both the rough Scottish seas and the sheltered lochs provide excellent testing grounds.
The Technology Development Group continues to be busy and lively and is enjoying considerable successes with the equipment it is producing. New avenues of activity are always being pursued and these presently include novel pollution sensors and glacial lake monitoring. The opportunities for applying the group's talents seem to be extensive and the challenges are both endless and tantalising.
The group currently comprises