Maka Niu (“coconut eye”) is a low-cost oceanographic camera and sensor platform that enables the exploration of undersea environments using a new pressure-tolerant camera housing, built in conjunction with the MIT Future Ocean Lab. The Maka Niu project was originally conceived as a system for K12 educational workshops with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Kamehameha Schools, but has the potential to revolutionize low-cost deep sea imaging and sensing.
Maka Niu was designed based on extensive interviews with scientists, conservationists, and educators around the world. It is a self-contained deep sea camera system that records at full high definition 1080p @30fps and is depth rated to 1,500 m. It also includes depth and temperature sensings, as well as automatic GPS-based georeferencing. It is intended to have a modular design for future capabilities and an expandable range of sensors. Mission programming is done on an easy-to-use web-based interface optimized for mobile use on any device. Data can be uploaded for analysis to Tator, a video annotation platform developed and hosted by our partner, CVision AI.
Maka Niu is a community-driven project that allows people to explore and monitor their marine resources. Based around off-the-shelf single-board computers and readily available microprocessors, Maka Niu is inexpensive to produce, easy to program, and simple to use. Designed as an open platform for scientific education and exploration, it will give classrooms and communities the ability to upload video and sensor data into Ocean AI, a centralized platform where machine learning algorithms assist with classification of marine species, seabed substrate, and accumulated time-series sensor data. This data will be publicly available, allowing visualization, sharing, and discussion with policy makers from the local to global levels.
Team: Katy Croff Bell, Dan Novy, Allan Adams, Jenni Chow, Lui Kawasumi, Margaret Sullivan, Kat Cantner, Peter Bell, Jon Ferguson, Maud Quinzin, Ben Woodward
Test Users: Diva Amon, Chris Blake, Jessica Cramp, Asha de Vos, Peter Girguis, Lehua Kamalu, Nuno Lourenço, Craig McClain, Kaitlin Noyes, Tim Noyes, João Sousa, Sheena Talma, Veta Wade
Funded by: Open Ocean, Future Ocean Lab
2021 status: Continuing, under the auspices of the Ocean Discovery League & Oceanic