|2008-09-05 by tamberg
Innovating Cave Exploration
Exploring caves does not come to mind as the most high tech of activities. But Beat Heeb, our CTO and a passionate caver, is about to change this. On his mission to revolutionize the field of caving, he already engineered a software-based cave radio capable of transmitting short text messages out of a cave (!) as well as a sensor based on a PIC controller to count people squeezing through a tunnel.
His current project is a paperless cave surveying system. A laser distance meter communicates over Bluetooth with a mobile device. There, the measured distances are rendered into a 3D model of the cave. Besides the cave surveying software written in C# on the .NET Compact Framework the main engineering task consisted of adding a 3D compass and Bluetooth to the distance meter, a relatively cheap, off-the-shelf Leica Disto A3. Striving for simplicity, Beat managed to create an add-on board that fits into the original housing and can be attached by soldering a mere four wires to the Disto.