Surfing for science phil bresnahan of smartfin

Circuit Break Podcast #164

Surfing for Science: Phil Bresnahan of Smartfin

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March 20, 2019, Episode #164

Phil Bresnahan of Smartfin joins the podcast to discuss the research of ocean data collection sensors.

**Phil Bresnahan**

  • Has made the water his playground and office for most of his life
  • Senior Development Engineer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography a department of UC San Diego, and the Lead Engineer of the Smartfin Project

Smartfin

  • What is Smartfin?
  • Why use a Surf Board for this platform?
  • What kind of sensors does this fin have?
    • How does it measure the ocean’s chemistry?
  • Construction techniques?
  • How is the fin charged and powered?
  • Hardware challenges with the design?
  • How does someone contribute to the project?
  • BBC Documentary

Announcements!

KiCon 2019 is a user conference for the popular open source CAD program KiCad. Happening April 26th and 27th 2019 in Chicago IL, this is the first and largest gathering of hardware developers using KiCad. Talks at the conference will span hardware design, revision control, scripting, manufacturing considerations, proper library management and getting  started developing the underlying tools. All announced talks have been listed on the conference site.

Visit our Public Slack Channel and join the conversation in between episodes!

Dr. Phil Bresnahan of Smartfin giving a talk about the project.

Dr. Phil Bresnahan of Smartfin giving a talk about the project.

Construction of the SmartFin using molds, fiberglass, and epoxy resin. The electronics are embedded.

Construction of the SmartFin using molds, fiberglass, and epoxy resin. The electronics are embedded.

The SmartFin attached to a surfboard. Ready to collect data!

The SmartFin attached to a surfboard. Ready to collect data!

About the Hosts

Parker dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!