Florida Tech students Cody Clemons, Gavin Friedman, Cameron Gagnon and Kyle Stead appeared before the Melbourne City Council on Jan. 22 to discuss their invention, the SensiDock.
In the audience was advisor Kelli Hunsucker, an assistant professor of oceanography at Florida Tech.
A sensor platform that can be mounted on a dock, the device measures four critical indicators of water health: salinity, PH level, dissolved oxygen and temperature. The students designed SensiDock at Hack the IRL in November, a 36-hour gathering centered on devising creative ways to help the ailing Indian River Lagoon. It won them first place.
“The reason that SensiDock is so helpful is it gives researchers more data to try and prepare for (fluctuations) ahead of time, and allows us to get that data from a lot of locations around the lagoon,” Friedman told the council.
And designed to cost substantially less than devices offering similar capabilities, SensiDock’s affordability could allow many citizen scientists to deploy the device on their docks. This, in turn, will provide scientists a deeper range of data to better understand the parameters throughout the lagoon.
Council members were impressed.
“Your work is very interesting, and much needed,” said Vice Mayor Debbie Thomas. “This is a good thing to help us see oncoming problems, and to be able to see as the lagoon recovers what areas are looking better and what have we done to cause that.”
Mark LaRusso, who invited the students to appear before the council, said he was proud of them and Florida Tech. “FIT is a huge part of our community, and you guys, just by what I see right now, you’ve got a heck of a future in front of you. I wish you all the luck in the world.”
Pictured: Florida Tech students, from left, Gavin Friedman, Cameron Gagnon, Cody Clemons and, in the second row, Kyle Stead speak to the Melbourne City Council about their invention, SensiDock.