Latest technology for Bendigo Creek

La Trobe University students are using sophisticated Internet of Things (IoT) technology to help improve the health of the Bendigo Creek.

In collaboration with the City of Greater Bendigo, the first cohort of Master of Internet of Things students have created high-tech sensors for recording data about the creek and its tributaries – including water quality and movement.

Head of La Trobe University’s Technology and Innovation Lab, Dr Simon Egerton, said the project will develop students’ skills in using IoT technology, while helping improve one of Bendigo’s most significant assets.

“Not only are our students improving their technical skills, they are developing a better understanding of the practical components of technology design – such as project management, storing and reporting data, and ethical concerns,” Dr Egerton said.

“For the last 18 months the students have been using cutting-edge technology and innovative techniques to solve problems. That their work will benefit an important community asset like the Bendigo Creek is a huge bonus.”

Senior Water Strategy Officer at City of Greater Bendigo, Mr Liam Sibly, said he’s hoping the sensors being trialled by the students will support the Reimagining Bendigo Creek Plan which aims to restore the health of the Bendigo Creek.

“As part of our long-term plan to revitalize the creek’s ecosystems, we are planning to renaturalise creek and install water sensitive urban design infrastructure throughout the catchment,” said Mr Sibly.

“It’s critical that we can measure the health of the creek and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. IoT technology will give us greater intelligence in real time.”

Dr Egerton said after the success of the Clever Weather project – which involved weather sensors being installed throughout Bendigo to give accurate, real time temperature readings – he was keen for community members to get involved in this latest endeavour.

“Internet of Things technology is at its best when it’s contributing to shared goals,” Dr Egerton said.

“We’d like to know what members of the public would like to see happen with this technology – either to improve the creek, or for other community projects that require innovative solutions.”

The seven Master of Internet of Things students have created two prototypes of water-monitoring sensors, which will be trialled at strategic points along the creek in coming weeks.

The prototype sensors are designed to measure water flow, turbidity (ie. water clarity) and pH levels. In time, additional sensors will be added to measure a greater range of parameters.

The sensors operate through Bendigo’s open-source Internet of Things network, which was established in 2018 through a La Trobe and City of Greater Bendigo partnership project.

If successful, the sensors could be developed further for use across other local government areas.

Community members who would like to contribute ideas to this or other IoT projects can contact s.egerton@latrobe.edu.au.

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