Australian Institute of Marine Science
The Nero team worked alongside AIMS to develop the latest version of Nero Poli.
Josh Spires | 22 April, 2022 | Case Studies
We were approached by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) who expressed interest in our existing water sampling solution (V2), however the unit was not capable of conducting their intended operation, prompting development of 3rd revision to meet a new set of sampling requirements.
The key deliverables for AIMS were that the updated solution would be able to collect 4-6 250ml samples from a 50cm depth, without cross contamination between the samples.
The design process began with a roundtable discussion involving our designers, engineers, account managers and directors in order to brainstorm what the solution may look like. Using sketches, mock-ups, and secondary research, we ran through several concepts as to how we believed AIMS’ key deliverables could be met.
During these discussions we came up with an initial concept of a solenoid-based valve structure, these concepts were mocked-up using CAD software in order to provide the client with a rough idea of what the solution may look like. Following approval from AIMS, we sourced the necessary electrical components and developed a series of 3D printed prototypes in order to assess the basic functionality of our proposal through bench testing.
Bench testing brought to light several difficulties, such as the effect that inlet/outlet diameters and hose lengths had on water pressure throughout the prototype, and the effects that this would in turn have on water-level reading accuracy. Such salient factors were either solved through an iterative design and testing process or overcome through a reconsideration of existing design elements.
Having established the basic functionality of our proposed design, we began to work on a design that displayed elements such as user-centred affordances, improved aesthetics, water resistance and remote-control functionality. These factors required several iterations, as tolerances would need adjustments, programming and PCB changes were made in accordance to design changes and any factors that were deemed to be unsatisfactory in quality, feel or durability needed revisiting.
These design changes were followed by field testing, wherein the drone would collect samples from 5 buckets containing alternating colours of food-dyed water. These tests simulated the potential workflow of a basic water sampling mission, helped us observe any potential contamination between samples and acted as an assessment of the accuracy of water levels across the 5 samples.