Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Christian de Moustier


A prototype micro-transponder has been designed and built to track, in real-time, the positions of objects or animals within the water column. Commercially available data storage tags, which help monitor the behavior of underwater animals, do not provide real-time interrogation and data dissemination capabilities in a form factor and acoustic frequency band acceptable for active tracking applications.

This prototype is 18.5 cm3 and weighs 43.7 g in air. It operates at an acoustic frequency of 160 kHz and uses a mixed-signal topology with low-power components and a microcontroller, which allows for firmware updates and addition of external sensors. It is powered by a lithium battery that provides enough energy for an 8-day deployment at a 1-second interrogation interval. Tests carried out in a tank confirmed the functionality of the design with coded replies being transmitted at source levels of 167 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m.