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Publication Date: 2002-Feb-12

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


This invention is a self-powered, free-floating, coconut-shape Floater, with onboard sensors, GPS receiver, a central processing unit, and a radio transmitter. The unit directly measures the horizontal motion of a tsunami by tracking its position relative to an arbitrary starting point. Tsunamis on the open ocean have a small vertical motion, but large horizontal motion. The vertical motion (only tens of centimeters for a potentially damaging tsunami) is beyond the measurement ability of simple GPS receivers, but the horizontal motion (from a few meters to tens of meters) is measurable. Through on-board bandpass filtering, the unit separates tsunami motion from wind-wave motion and tidal motion, and transmits the resulting signal to a receiving station, via low-orbit-satellite or other constellation. Data from multiple Floaters is interpreted by a remotely located "Floater base". Several dozen Floaters may provide effective tsunami detection coverage for the whole Pacific. A few dozen more may achieve this coverage globally. Applications include sensing of earthquake, landslide, avalanche, volcano, asteroid hit, climate, and ocean event characteristics. Subsequent generations of Floaters will be submersible, remotely programmable, micro or nano scale, and ultimately constitute self-assembling massive arrays. The special feature of this Floater-Base network is the above-described characteristics of the Floaters, plus the network capacity to differentiate between varieties of phenomena that often confuse sensing networks. Other keywords are: environmental sensing, microelectrical mechanical systems, nanotechnology, natural disaster preparedness, disaster prevention, pollution prevention, remote sensing, robotics.