Award Winners

Cave divers map with ultrasound

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 12:58pm

2010 R&D 100 Winner
K994_SwRIWater-resource management and geotechnical risk assessments depend on hard data from areas that are difficult to access. The newly-designed Remote Neutrally Buoyant Sensor from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, provides an effective, inexpensive solution to data collection in underground aquifers.

The small, self-powered device maps the path, dimensions, and morphology of fully or partially water-filled caves and other underground conduits and cavities using an array of ultrasound sensors relative to a three-axis magnetometer. Designed to be used in numbers to build a spatial map of the morphology of a cave’s interior, the buoyant sensor can transmit data to a second tethered sensor in close proximity, or by collecting the sensor at a later time.

Unlike prior sensors, the Remote Neutrally Buoyant Sensor is equipped with a propulsion system to move it through the cave and avoid protrusions.

Remote underwater sensors

Southwest Research Institute

Development Team

Remote Neutrally Buoyant Sensor Development Team from Southwest Research Institute
Ben Abbott  
Ronald T. Green   

Award Year



Southwest Research Institute


Ben Abbott (Primary)
Ronald T. Green (Primary)

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