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A marine observation device known as Sailbuoy is scheduled to tackle a scientific mission to monitor a set of meteorological and bio-chemical variables over the almost nine hundred nautical miles that separate the island of Gran Canaria from the island of Sao Vicente in Cape Verde.

he mission forms part of the AtlantOS and MARCET projects, under the technical and operational supervision of the Canary Island Oceanic Platform. Sailbuoy will be sailing for several weeks, depending on the surface currents and winds that it encounters on its voyage through the waters of Macaronesia between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde.

Sailbuoy, designed by Offshore Sensing, consists of a small-sized, autonomous platform that has the look and the components of a sail boat, allowing it to harness the wind as a source of propulsion, and it can cover long distances over the ocean, thanks to a precise positioning and navigation system. It is fitted with a set of sensors to measure both atmospheric variables (wind, air temperature, humidity and air pressure) and oceanographic variables (water temperature, conductivity, pigments, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and hydrocarbons) that are transmitted in real time by a two-way, satellite telemetry system, which is also used by the pilot to send the device instructions when needed and to monitor the operational status of the vessel at all times.

The Minister of Economy, Industry, Trade and Knowledge of the Canary Island Regional Government, Pedro Ortega, said at the final session of the European NeXOS Project to develop new oceanographic observation sensors that this initiative “has a lot to offer our Islands” and stated that the Canary Islands need to become “a national and international benchmark for marine maritime research, innovation and technology”.

Pedro Ortega, accompanied by the Rector of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Rafael Robaina, and the Director of the Canary Island Oceanic Platform (PLOCAN), opened the final meeting of the NeXOS Project today, highlighting the fact that “blue growth is one of the priorities set by the Canary Island Smart Specialisation Strategy”.

PLOCAN has completed the implementation of the Low-Cost Submarine Robotics with Arduino Technology (ROVINO) Project that consisted of bringing an educational project to schools based on building a remotely operated programable robot, or Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with low-cost tools, free hardware and software, based on Arduino as the selected free hardware platform and Scratch/Visualino as free software tools.