National Severe Storms Laboratory

GlobalSense: Micro and Nanotechnology-Enabled Environmental Sensing with Semi Lagrangian Drifters

John Manobianco, Ph.D

Vice President Business Development, MESO, Inc., Troy, NY
Founder and Chief Science Officer, Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., Guilderland, NY

30 May 2013, 10:00 AM

National Weather Center, Room 1350
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Technological advancements in microsystems and nanotechnology have inspired a concept known as GlobalSense. At the core of this system is an ensemble of airborne probes that leverages continuing advances in electronics miniaturization and component integration to achieve ultra-low cost, mass, size, power consumption, and terminal velocity. The probes will be completely disposable, inexpensive enough to deploy in large numbers (hundreds to thousands), and function as semi Lagrangian drifters using no active propulsion or flight. Microsensors including global positioning system (GPS) chips onboard the probes are used to measure ambient air temperature, relative humidity, pressure, and velocity. Two other elements that comprise the system include deployment mechanisms and communication platforms to retrieve sensor data.
GlobalSense has potential to expand greatly in situ measurements of thermodynamic and kinematic parameters and transform environmental sensing well beyond current capability. In the area of severe storm research and operations, there is a need for new systems to measure boundary layer fields at space and time scales that are not currently feasible with radars, GPS water vapor retrievals, and other observing technology. Probes would be ideal to provide such observations perhaps as part of a targeted observing strategy with sensitive regions identified ahead of time then sampled by probes deployed from unmanned aircraft systems in multiple locations.
The presentation will highlight results from a recently completed feasibility analysis and trade study of the GlobalSense system funded by the National Science Foundation. Topics to be covered include enabling technologies and system components, design challenges and constraints, plans for prototype development, and proposed collaboration with National Weather Center stakeholders as part of NOAA’s “Warn on Forecast” program.

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