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Mobilisa, a Port Townsend, Washington contractor, has developed a sensor-laden buoy that can keep an eye on waterways, scanning for vessels, polution, or radiation. Called the Aegeus Wireless Buoy system, it was developed for the Navy, but the company is also tapping into the commercial market.

The company initially worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation to create a wireless network for Washington state ferries. After that project, the Navy approached the company for a way to help it monitor the waters around tied-up ships, as well as harbors in general.

The Navy, which provided the funding behind the development of the buoy system, views the product as an opportunity to monitor craft around large vessels, potentially protecting against a destroyer Cole-type bombing incident.

Their Floating Area Network (FAN) utilizes an ICMOBIL-developed mesh Ad-Hoc network. It provides a cost effective and efficient way of providing network connectivity within line of sight; without relying on satellite communications. It uses shore-based transmitters and antennas to relay Internet traffic across hundreds of miles of water.

FAN also enables naval ships to send e-mails/messages, data files, chat and video wirelessly between ships in a battle group.

Oil rigs could be particularly lucrative, since they typically leak a small amount of oil, resulting in constant alarms. In practice, companies turn these off. By moving the sensor to a nearby buoy, the company can avoid false alarms while still gathering intelligence on leaks.

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