Mini Buoys

The Mini Buoy is a low-cost and easy-to-assemble device that measures currents, waves, and tides using accelerometers.

The Mini Buoy comprises of an acceleration data logger placed inside a small, bottom mounted float. The data logger measures acceleration along 3 axes relative to the Earth’s surface and is used to determine inclination and direction of motion.

There are three major advantages of the Mini Buoy over conventional hydrographic equipment:

  • components to make them are available off-the-shelf
  • easy to programme and use
  • cheap to make (~£300)

how does it work?

Tilt correlates directly with current velocity. The steeper the dip of the Mini Buoy, the stronger the current.

The Mini Buoy can therefore be used to measure flood and ebb current velocities over time:

how the Mini Buoy is being used

Mini Buoys have been used in a variety of ways to understand coastal processes:

This work is supported by the UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Research Hub and the University of Glasgow.