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Miniaturizing Electronics for a Shark-Inspired Chemical Sensor




SEAG: Sea Grant Program

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Thomas R. Consi

Faculty email:


Apply by:

Thursday, Feb. 13



Project Description

Sharks have an amazingly sensitive sense of smell, they can detect very low-levels of blood in the water and track a blood plume to it its source. We have recently developed an electrochemical sensor inspired by the morphology of the shark olfactory system. It has been successfully tested on the lab bench using standard (bulky) laboratory test equipment. We now plan to test the sensor under real-world conditions in the Charles River and the ocean. In order to accomplish these tests we must drastically reduce the physical size and power consumption of the electronics needed to control the sensor and read its output. Fortunately several chip companies have integrated much of the electronics needed for electrochemical sensors on a single integrated circuit. For this UROP you will test an electrochemical integrated circuit from Analog Devices to determine if it is capable of controlling our biomimetic sensor. You will obtain the sensor development kit and set it up with a conventional electrochemical electrode. You will then test the sensitivity, resolution, stability, accuracy, and power consumption of the entire system (electrode plus electronics). Time permitting you will then test the electronics with the shark-inspired electrode. This project has the potential to lead to a summer UROP.


Analog and digital electronics; microcontroller interfacing and programming; circuit construction and testing; and basic chemistry. Knowledge of electrochemistry a plus.