MASED: Multipurpose Above/Below Surface Expendable Dropsonde

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Advance Hurricane Forecasting with MASED:  a Multipurpose Above/Below Surface Expendable Dropsonde

Boston Engineering’s MASED enhances hurricane forecasting by collecting multiple readings from inside the storm area to improve modeling for hurricane intensity and trajectory over water.
MASED is a dropsonde buoy with an adaptable and modular sensor capability that transmits live data via satellite. It is the first product to collect ocean data during developing hurricanes via multiple submerge-and-surface cycles. MASED is more economical than comparable technologies, with a per-profile cost in the hundreds of dollars.

MASED is part of Boston Engineering’s maritime sensor platform that supports a range of products across multiple industries.

MASED Features

MASED includes the following technologies and capabilities that are also used throughout the company’s maritime sensing product line:

  • Variable Buoyancy System (VBS):  Achieves multiple submerged water column profiles through its Variable Buoyancy System (VBS). The ability to change buoyancy allows MASED to make multiple controlled descents to a preprogrammed depth then ascend to the surface to transmit the collected data.
  • Modular Software and Operating System:  Provides control via microcontroller of IMU, GPS, SATCOM, datalogger, CTD, and other sensors.
  • Sensor Nose (with CTD sensing):  Measures water temperature, conductivity, and pressure through the water column profiles and while at the surface. The modular design enables multiple types of sensors to be deployed.
  • Electronics and Communications Modules (Satellite Communication with GPS):  Missions can be preprogrammed but a sample is that the device collects baseline data on day one, profiles again (multiple times) while the storm passes over, then transmits the data via Iridium to the Iridium satellite constellation, which can then be accessed quickly from anywhere in the world.
  • Ruggedized Design:  Operates in harsh conditions. MASED is deployed from standard AVAPs launch tubes from aircraft flying up to 45,000 feet. The parachute system automatically detaches when in the water. MASED can also be deployed manually via boat.

Testing and Advancement

Boston Engineering is providing NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center with MASED prototypes for field testing.

Commercialization support for MASED includes a SBIR Phase II contract from NOAA, and MassVentures START Stage II grant.

The Boston Engineering Maritime Sensing Technology Platform

Boston Engineering is developing a maritime sensor platform to support applications that range from hurricane forecasting to naval defense.  The platform’s capabilities enable the rapid integration and use of a myriad of commercial sensors. Boston Engineering’s platforms are capable of being widely distributed at a reduced cost.


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SBIR Data Rights Notice (Dec 2007): These SBIR data are furnished with SBIR rights under Contract No. WC-133R-15-CN-0112. For a period of 4 years, unless extended in accordance with FAR 27.409(h), after acceptance of all items to be delivered under this contract, the Government will use these data for Government purposes only, and they shall not be disclosed outside the Government (including disclosure for procurement purposes) during such period without the permission of the Contractor, except that, subject to the foregoing use and disclosure prohibitions, these data may be disclosed for use by support Contractors. After the protection periods, the Government has a paid-up license to use, and to authorize others to use on its behalf, these data for Government purposes, but is relieved of all disclosure prohibitions and assumes no liability for unauthorized use of these data by third parties.