Augmented reality Smartphone apps for interactive public engagement with marine technology

The ‘SmartBuoyAR’ project aims develop a novel, interactive public engagement tool using augmented reality technologies.

We’ve created a freely downloadable SmartPhone app which allows users to interactively virtually explore one of our active NOCS/Cefas research projects: testing new sensors collecting water quality and nutrient data in near real time from a Cefas SmartBuoy 3km offshore in the Thames estuary.

This will be used to facilitate conversations about ocean technology development, marine pollution and the need for environmental data collection to evidence government policy. The project aims to develop a tool for longer term use in outreach projects with a wider audience, and to evaluate the potential for using downloadable interactive Smartphone apps to facilitate ‘peer-to-peer’ knowledge sharing and sustained engagement following public engagement events.

As part of this project, we’ve recruited teachers to develop classroom resources around the interactive Smartphone app, and had much interest in our early outreach pilot events at the Natural History Museum, Oxford’s ‘Super Science Saturday’, the Marine Technology and Autonomy Showcase conference, NOCS Open Day and an RSC Education event for teachers. We aim to reach a wider audience by moving the project online as an interactive teaching resource.

Twitter: #SmartBuoyAR

PI: Pip Simpson, Ocean Technology and Engineering, NOCS


Project Dates: 
October 2019 to August 2020
  • UK Government (exc NERC)
  • Industry
  • University of Southampton Public Engagement with Research unit Development fund