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Project Niu

Project Niu is a K-12 science curriculum that provides students and teachers with hands-on, project-based experiences with the technologies used in remotely monitoring the ocean. Through deploying and tracking a high tech “message in a bottle” as it drifts out to sea, students develop an understanding of mankind’s impact on the watershed while forming personal connections to the environment. The Project Niu team includes engineers and scientists at Archinoetics, LLC and is sponsored by NOAA’s B-WET Hawaii Program.


“On January 30, 2009, Project Niu deployed three satellite-tracked ocean drifters into the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii to help K-12 students learn about marine debris and mankind’s impact on the oceans…


…The drifter devices are each called “Niu”, which is the Hawaiian word for “coconut”, because they will float on the surface and be carried like currents, much like coconuts do. The difference is that these coconuts are equipped with satellite modems, GPS modules, temperature sensors, accelerometers to measure wave height, digital cameras, and an array of other sensors. Students will be monitoring where the Niu devices go with the currents, knowing full well that marine debris (a fancy phrase that often just means “trash”) follows the same path out to sea. The students have all seen the impact of plastic and derelict fishing gear on marine animals, so now they are seeing firsthand how pollution can reach distant uninhabited islands, like those in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.”

You can track the “Niu” floaters here.

Here is the current location of the four floaters.

Niu Melemele:

Drifting course of "Niu Melemele"

Drifting course of "Niu Melemele"

Niu Oma`oma`o:

Drifting course of "Niu Oma`oma`o"

Drifting course of "Niu Oma`oma`o"

Niu Poni:

Drifting course of "Niu Poni"

Drifting course of "Niu Poni"

Niu `Alani:

Drifting course of "Niu `Alani"

Drifting course of "Niu `Alani"

For more information on the project, check out the website here.

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