Pat Shingleton: "Surfin' Safari"
Gulf Coast surfers get excited when a tropical storm or hurricane spins through the Gulf of Mexico. Surfers are now assisting researchers for environmental improvements. Benjamin Thompson is an engineer, oceanographic expert and an avid surfer. He recently invented "SmartPhin," a small sensor that is attached to the fin of surfboard to collect data on water temperature, salinity and pH levels. The sensor also targets the waves that a surfer is traversing. Once a day of surfing is completed the data is uploaded to a smartphone and then transmitted to data servers. Conventional technology utilized other instrumentation, similar to tiny buoys, located in the break zone which is within a visible distance to the shore and where most surfing is done. The "SmartPhin" is a natural solution in advancing data collection. Knowing the components of the ocean in all depths and capacities will provide valuable forecasts in the future. The surfboard has now become a collection terminal with hopes that additional surfers and their boards will provide assistance in the future.