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Thursday, 30 July 2015

CPUT Innovation: Ocean observer smart buoy

IMPROVED: Dirk Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean bouy IMPROVED: Dirk Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean bouy

Thinking out of the box has paid off for Dirk Muller, who opted for an innovative approach to solving a problem he identified whilst working on a research project.

A staff member at the TIA Adaptronics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Laboratory, Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean buoy.

Buoys are used by industry and government for oceanographic and atmospheric data sampling.

The data collected is crucial for severe weather prediction, disaster management, oceanographic research and coastal management.

Whilst interning at the Bayworld Centre for Research and Education, Muller explored the current buoy system and identified a shortfall in its functionality.

Muller says currently technicians have to remove the entire buoy from the ocean for servicing with the result that crucial data cannot be collected during service periods.

To counter this problem, Muller improved the functionality of the buoys by developing an improved buoy that features a modular design to simplify the operational procedures.

img-CPUT-Innovation-Ocean-observer-smart-buoy-2DATA: Buoys are deployed along the South African coastline for oceanographic and atmospheric data sampling.

Thanks to his ingenious design, technicians will be able to easily service the buoy by simply removing the electronic module and replacing it with a temporary service module.

“This design will cut service cost and will ensure that minimal data is lost,” says Muller.

The design is also sleek, has improved solar power capabilities and stability.

The buoy prototype was tested in False Bay and two upgraded buoys will be deployed for testing in August in False Bay.

*This product will be on show at the CPUT Innovation Showcase, which takes place on Thursday, 6 August 2015 in the Major Sports Hall at the Bellville Campus from 11am – 8pm. Entry is free.

For more information on the Innovation Showcase, contact:

Chris Lombard: +27 21 9595871/

Nompahelo Ndindwa: +27 21 959 6044/


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Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.