SMART Cable

The SMART Cable is a re-programmable cable assembly connecting a marine sensor to a platform, simplifying the integration of a new sensor and its data.

A SMART Cable consists of an ultra-low-power miniaturized printed circuit board embedded between each end of a sea cable. This innovative cable assembly allows several functionalities such as data processing, data logging and voltage regulation between a sensor and a platform such as a glider, AUV or buoy. The cable assembly turns a passive device into a smart processing unit.

SMART Cable Prototype with visible PCB

Basic Onboard Modules:

  • 32-bit Microcontroller
  • Step-up/Step-down Voltage Regulators
  • Flash Memory Unit
  • 16-bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)

Input / Output Communication Protocols:

  • RS-232
  • RS-485/422
  • Ethernet
  • Analog voltage
  • 4 – 20 mA current loop

Optional Modules:

  • Real-Time Clock (RTC)
  • Wi-Fi
  • More custom modules upon request

One example of SMART Cable functionality is the PUCK capability. PUCK is a standard developed by OGC to address installation and configuration challenges for  sensor integration. Currently, new sensor integration introduces a lot of hassles and engineering costs for the operator. At the same time, accessing the data is a big challenge for the user’s of the sensor data, since the collected data is rarely standardized or interoperable.

The Sensor Web Enablement suite of protocols aim to solve the issues both operators and users experience. The main idea is to produce a standardized output data format regardless of the type of sensor or platform. The standardized data can be easily visualized and accessed by the end users.

Example of Communication Protocols facilitated by SMART Cable

Regarding the PUCK protocol, it defines the lower layer of the data hierarchy. The SMART Cable consists of electronics which hold a sensor descriptor file (SensorML). Upon receiving the correct PUCK commands, the SMART Cable transmits this file to the platform. As facilitated by the SMART Cable, this process not only standardizes the data coming out of the sensor, but also automatically integrates the sensor into the platform since the communication protocol is defined in the descriptor file along with other metadata.

The SMART Cable: sensor and data integration made easy.