iFO (infrared Fish Observation) - An open source low-cost infrared underwater video system
Underwater video surveillance is an important data source in marine science, e.g. for behaviour studies. Scientists commonly use water resistant ruggedized monitoring equipment, which is cost-intensive and usually limited to visible light. This has two disadvantages: the observation is limited to space and time where visible light is available or, under artificial illumination, behaviour of marine life is potentially biased. Infrared (IR) video surveillance have been used before to overcome these. It records videos at visible light and under IR-illumination. With today’s efficiency of IR-LED and video technology even low-cost systems reach visibility ranges suited for many application scenarios. We describe a low-costopen-source based hardware/software system (iFO). It consists of a single-board computer controlling the camera and lamps (with high power IR-LEDs), printed circuit boards (PCB), the underwater housings and 3D-printable models to mount PCBs in the housings and the housings to standard GoPro mounts. The Linux based software includes webserver, remote control, motion detection, scheduler, video transfer, storage at external hard disk and more. A ready-to-use SD-card image is included. We use rugged underwater housings with 100 m(optional 400 m) depth ratings. Finally, we describe a typical application observing the behaviour of cod in fish pots.