Project lead: Samantha Edwards

Smart Rock

Current hydrological modelling is missing data from small and seasonal streams. Data collection on these streams is sparse with measurements, if any data is taken at all. Small streams are often ignored in hydrological modelling by entities that generate public data of water resources. The ecological health of habitats for fish depends on the flow of these small streams during different seasons.

Smart Rock aims to create a low-cost device to monitor remote streams through citizen science. The device could be used as a learning tool for students, teachers, and other citizen scientists. Deploying Smart Rock in streams will allow for more accurate data collection of small and seasonal streams. Smart Rock is currently focused on providing a deployable sensor suite for CrowdWater, a citizen science project that provides opportunities for non-researchers to collect data on the quality of streams.

The Smart Rock is a submersible sensor suite that monitors:

  • Depth with accuracy within 0.13 mbar resolution as compared to an out of water pressure sensor

  • Temperature accuracy of less than 0.01°C, turbidity measured in JTU

  • A custom salinity measurement that increases accuracy to less than 5 parts per million..


Beyond the sensors, components of the Smart rock include the Adafruit Feather M0 Bluefruit LE with Adalogger attachment. The Feather M0 acts as the main microcontroller for Smart Rock giving inputs to sensors, other electronics, and reading outputs. Bluetooth capability of the Feather is used to connect Smart Rock to the user interface. Implementing the Adalogger allows for a microSD card attachment to log data collected by sensors connected to the Feather. The Adalogger also has a Real Time Clock that can be used with the Feather to take data at specific times. All of these components are integrated into a custom Smart Rock printed circuit board (PCB). A reed switch is implemented allowing the Smart Rock to remain dormant until a user interacts by holding a magnet near the device. This triggers Bluetooth communications between the Smart Rock and the user.

Assembly and programming of Smart Rock is open-sourced and uses a modularized programming platform called LOOM, developed by OPEnS Lab. The design and test data can be found on our Wiki page and our code on GitHub. Smart Rock currently costs ~ $200 with the above specifications and custom parts and takes about 10 hours to assemble and program.

Smart Rock is still in development, the information above summarizes the Rev 2 design of the Smart Rock. While the device is developed, updates and more information as Smart Rock moves into Rev 3 will be posted to its Wiki page which you can reach here, or linked below.


OPEnS, SmartRock, Smart Rock, Feather M0, Adalogger, Arduino, Stream, Water Monitor, Hydrological Data, Hydrological Monitoring, Pressure, Temperature, Electrical Conductivity, Dissolved Solids, Turbidity