Biomimetric sentinel reef structures for optical sensing and communications

David Fries, Tim Hutcheson, Noam Josef, David Millie, Connor Tate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOcean Sensing and Monitoring IX
EditorsRobert A. Arnone, Weilin Hou
ISBN (Electronic)9781510608733
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventOcean Sensing and Monitoring IX 2017 - Anaheim, United States
Duration: 11 Apr 201712 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOcean Sensing and Monitoring IX 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Communications
  • Distributed sensing
  • Reefs
  • Sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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