The iLab, in collaboration with CIMERS post-doctoral scholar Kyle Neumann, designed and developed the first prototype for a submersible camera system. It mounts to long-line fishing gear. The system will help researchers better understand the impact of long-line fishing gear on sensitive coral and sponge habitats.
Since the initial prototype was created, the system has seen some upgrades. Below is a picture of the three elements of this project. The black cylindrical enclosure is a battery housing designed and built by Sexton Corporation. It contains the control electronics developed in-house by the iLab team. The silver enclosure with the yellow dot is the iLab-manufactured LED light source. The other silver enclosure, also manufactured by the iLab team, is a camera housing containing a Sony camera and custom-developed electronic controls.
Above is the first generation of the camera system. The upgraded system (shown left) is currently in Alaska, where it will be integrated and field tested. Researchers will be building a frame for the enclosure that mounts the system to the fishing gear it will inspect.
iLab worked with the Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory to reverse engineer and build the lab a gel electrophoresis system. A gel electrophoresis system sets up an electrical field which can then be used to separate DNA and/or RNA by size. Samples of DNA/RNA load into one end of an agarose gel and then the electrical charge is applied through thin platinum wires. The negatively charged DNA/RNA will migrate through the gel towards the positive end with smaller fragments moving more quickly through the gel matrix than larger ones. Once the run is complete the gel can be stained to visualize the DNA. By comparing with known standards we can assess the quantity and quality of total DNA or check size and quantity of amplified fragments.
The iLab completed the redesign of a LiDar GPS datalogger that can be mounted onto a drone. The design included a 3D printed housing, 2-layer PCB design, CNC milled components, and the full system build. Details on the base system design and utilized code can be found in the following github repository; https://github.com/EvaLeunissen/Whalength.