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Deployment Success at Hawaii

· 4 min read

Hello! I’m Anagha - a Computer Science & Statistics major at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This past summer, I had the unique opportunity to work as a research intern for the Sage team to create a rideshare vehicle detection algorithm and app.

This past month, I traveled to Hilo, Hawai'i with the Sage team to install the latest node W097 near Volcanoes National Park. This was a truly unique experience and taught me the value of collaboration among scientists and communities to reach goals.

Background Context & Preparation

On 10/26, the team met at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with scientists Thomas Giambelluca, Han Tseng, and Dylan Giardina. We were all excited to begin preparation and unpacked the shipments for deployment. The interns helped with transporting materials and installing stainless steel equipment into the node; Raj worked with Han to explain the input-ouputs and wiring for installment; and the rest of us helped pack other equipment and ropes for an efficient deployment experience on the tower. With all hands on deck, we finished the deployment procedures swiftly and ended the day with some delicious food from a local Hawaiian eatery!

Setup and preparation for deployment at the University of Hawaii @ Manoa

D-Day: The Deployment

At 7:00 AM in the morning, the team drove to Volcanoes National Park with the hiking equipment and sensor parts in hand, ready to mount the 80-foot tower! Jason Leigh and Ryan Theriot flew down from the Lava Lab to the site to assist with the installation procedure. With over 11 people on-site, we all got our hard-hats on, geared up with equipment, and got the exciting momentum running for the mission ahead of us!

The video footage below exhibits some of the challenges we faced, and how teamwork was absolutely essential for installation on quite a tall tower with dense canopy, fragile equipment, and limited time. The interns were handling the ropes; Raj was directing the installation; Han, Dylan, and Tom were the tower climbers; Jason, Ryan, and I were recording video footage of the experience; and Pete was overseeing the climbers at the top. Every individual, every effort, every responsibility was integral to the deployment experience, and after 10 hours of dedication, we successfully installed the Wild Sage node and were even able to see live audio and image feedback!

The node is installed at approximately 80 feet high and includes equipment such as Lorowan, a rain gauge, gps, and high-accuracy cameras for audio, imaging, and sensor capabilities. Edge apps on these sensors will collect data and analytics on air quality, pollution levels, cloud cover, diversity monitors, solar irradiance levels, and more. We hope to provide this data to local Hawaiian communities and to the national parks to assess the impact of wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and diversity in plant and animal species in the surrounding area.

The thick canopy and tower height presented challenges in hauling the node to the top - teamwork, patience, and clear communication made it possible!

Relationships and Collaborations for Current and Future

I believe that the foundations for such a monumental and successful deployment are the relationships and collaborations Sage developed and nurtured with individuals and organizations in Hawaii.

Such collaborations, especially when interdisciplinary and geographically diverse, can be multifaceted and often complex. Relationships between scientists, their scientific domain, and their research can be varied yet unique. The field trip to Hawaii represents key interactions and collaborations between scientists, where diverse scientific domains such as edge computing, computer science, and the climate sciences can be integrated to pursue groundbreaking research goals.

The foundational relationships between universities, scientists, and the Sage team in Hawaii are key for future relationships and deployments that encourage the pursuit of science and research. For instance, Han, Tom, and Dylan were all key scientists to the installation success because of their contagious passion for science and research, their willingness to support the Hawaiian communities through providing accessible environmental data, and their hard work during deployment.

Sage sensors and edge computing act as vital segways where data collection benefits climate scientists and provides a unique insight into the Hawaiian culture and environment. Through the beauty of teamwork and collaboration, science can be transformed into a catalyst for transformational feedback and change.

Mission Success! From left to right: Anagha, Pete, Joann, Raj, Aldo, Alex, Dylan, Tom, Han