Traditional artificial reef structures are designed with uniform cellular architectures and topologies and do not mimic natural reef forms. Strings and ropes are a proven, common fisheries and mariculture construction element throughout the world and using them as artificial reef scaffolding can enable a diversity of ocean sensing, communications systems including the goal of sentinel reefs. The architecture and packaging of electronics is key to enabling such structures and systems. The distributed sensor reef concept leads toward a demonstrable science-engineering-informed framework for 3D smart habitat designs critical to stock fish development and coastal monitoring and protection. These ‘nature-inspired’ reef infrastructures, can enable novel instrumented ‘reef observatories’ capable of collecting real-time ecosystem data. Embedding lighting and electronic elements into artificial reef systems are the first systems conceptualized. This approach of bringing spatial light to the underwater world for optical sensing, communication and even a new breed of underwater robotic vehicle is an interdisciplinary research activity which integrates principles of electronic packaging, and ocean technology with art/design.
Miniaturization of laboratory sensors has been enabled by continued evolution of technology. Field portable systems are often desired, because they reduce sample handling, provide rapid feedback capability, and enhance convenience. Fieldable sensor systems should include a method for initiating the analysis, storing and displaying the results, while consuming minimal power and being compact and portable. Low cost will allow widespread usage of these systems. In
this paper, we discuss a reconfigurable Personal Data Assistant (PDA) based control and data collection system for use with miniature sensors. The system is based on the Handspring visor PDA and a custom designed motherboard, which connects directly to the PDA microprocessor. The PDA provides a convenient and low cost graphical user interface, moderate processing capability, and integrated battery power. The low power motherboard provides the voltage levels, data collection, and input/output (I/O) capabilities required by many MEMS and miniature sensors. These capabilities
are relayed to connectors, where an application specific daughterboard is attached. In this paper, two applications are
demonstrated. First, a handheld nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) detection sensor consisting of a heated and optical fluorescence detection system is discussed. Second, an electrostatically actuated MEMS micro mirror controller is realized.