• Kim Burke

9/ Sketch and Prototype presentation

Updated: May 6, 2020

Concept development took a leap in progress today. Over the past few days I have been working on solidifying my idea, in terms of what I want the product to achieve for the environment and for fishermen. Today I presented my sketch and prototype presentation to tutors. Some key slides including my brief, investigation and concept development can be seen below:

My vision:

A device that locates and retrieves lost fishing equipment, in particular, creels and pots. An element of fishing equipment, that is often overlooked due to trawling nets being a hot topic. Trawling nets can travel thousands of miles, due to ocean currents and surface on a regular basis due to tide and interference with marine life, thus making them easier to retrieve from the ocean. However I want to draw my focus into retrieve the lumps of steel and meters of nylon that are often lost at sea, hundred os meters down on the dark seabed. Considering 71% of the earths surface is covered in water, no one really knows where the creels are on the ocean bed.

Far harder to retrieve, my focus is to allow the fishermen to retrieve their own equipment that has been lost or tampered with, allowing them to do good, but most importantly retrieve costly equipment that can be used for years to come. Most commonly creels are lost due to bad weather, mishandling of equipment or sadly quite often, gear conflict, between trawlers and creelers.

Speaking to fishermen from the East and West coast of Scotland, they have highlighted the issues surrounding gear conflict and 'turf war' between boats. Mario a prawn fisherman expressed that he had had several run-ins with trawlers in the past, either intentionally, snapping lines and trawling gear away, or accidentally trawling over gear, where they have then returned the equipment to them.

Check out my blog post recorded at the time : 'Interviews with friendly fishermen' here.

An example of severe gear conflict, which drove me to develop my idea towards lost or tampered gear was from a fisherman in Stonehaven. Ian Mathieson, lost 600 creels, and several meters of rope, which was estimated in the new article to have a combined total of 20 tones of plastic, which still currently remain on the sea bed.

I have been looking into sonar technology, due to its transmitting abilities through water, and perhaps using this as a technology to identify the location of missing creels.

A prototype of an ultrasonic sensor within a creel, is demonstrated below: (The intended intention being, when a boat was on top of their creels, a buzzer would sound to indicate they were above the missing gear).

A sonar device:

Attached to the creel, a sonar device would allow fishermen to know when they were above their creels, through sound travelling through the water.

An emergency buoy:

As a physical marker buoy, this concept focused on a buoy being released from the creel when the fishermen were unable to locate their pots.

Looking into the inflation of lifejackets has been one of them. This first inspired the concept of a 'emergency inflating buoy' from the creel. Since then I have purchased small compressed Co2 canisters to develop a prototype of the device.

The other element to this concept design was the mechanism underwater which allowed a buoy to be released from the creel. As you may have guessed, this came with many implications, the biggest element and hurdle being...water.

Mapping out how these concept designs would be achievable, I researched into using sound within water and discovered the software 'CHIRP', which allows sounds to be used as unique barcodes to transfer data.

You can view the software for yourself here:

My next steps at this moment in time are to proceed with this idea and figure out a technology to communicate with the boat and the creel, taking water and distance as two major barriers into account. The other main factor being, how to power a device underwater for a reasonable period of time. Talking with Ali from the make space today, within DJCAD, has actually cleared some things up and gave me some softwares to look into. So perhaps my next blog post will have some more clarify of the technology I may wish to use to implement my concept.

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