22/ Detail is key
Previously I had considered an element of personalisation for the product. The aim was to allow fishermen to identify each others equipment and perhaps their own equipment in overfished waters.
My thinking had been directed towards the lighting which the buoy displayed and whether fishermen could have their own unique light sequence or perhaps a button to control the light accordingly from their own vessel. After a phone call with Mario, the fishermen I had previously been in contact with, he clarified my decision. Suggesting both ideas, Mario favoured the button idea as it would give them greater control of the buoy if they were struggling to find the buoy themselves. He expanded stating that woking with individual light sequences may complicate the product and perhaps even intimidate fishermen with its complexity.
To achieve this I would be using a bluetooth module connected to an Arduino and use a simple if statement to flash LED accordingly (using a different lighting sequence to the buoys permanent state). I could also connect this to the fishermen mobile phones to cut cost and limit the number of equipment needed to use the device.
A small tutorial I looked at to understand this can be seen here:
But for now my head has turned to physical personalisation of the buoy...
Currently the identification of buoys is within their licence number/boat name/owner name, typically wrote in permanent marker on the side of the buoy. Not very foolproof, but it works and has worked for some time!
Fishermen are typically familiar with boat numbers and can identify vessels accordingly due to local knowledge. But for you and I, and other water users that may find lost gear, we wouldn't have a clue! That is how I came to the solution of a QR code imprinted onto the surface of the product.
I quickly built a page that would link the QR code on the buoy to a 'if lost return me to...' page with relevant information. This can be viewed here. Or simply scan this QR code with the camera on your phone to take you there.
(The webpage is currently linked to my own website, however I will most likely build a website to advertise the product and it will be linked to this).
The QR code I understand will not be used day to day, only unless the buoy becomes detached form its line. The is not necessarily directly linked to the aim of my project (in reducing the amount of equipment lost at sea). Although it is a selling point and allows fishermen to receive lost equipment, thus saving an average of £50 per buoy.
Taking to the vinyl cutter to cut out the QR code, I intricately stuck the shape to the side of the buoy. Despite the curvature of the buoy, it works! Upon the next model I will however be reducing the size of the shape to reduce its curvature. I also need to consider a method to secure the QR code on, making sure it doesn't wear off as it wouldn't work if this was to occur!
I may coat in resin or try to include the QR code in the material wall of the buoy. Therefore if it does get scratched it won't make a difference to the QR code results.