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The Coastal Sensor Project

  • A Birkbeck Research Innovation Award has been given to a BIDA Collaboration.

The Coastal Sensor Project is a joint research project led by Professor George Roussos (School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences) and Professor Sue Brooks (School of Social Sciences).

The project is aimed at developing low power wireless environmental sensors that will assist process understanding and inform future coastal protection schemes.


In many places around the coast there is a need to develop such understanding because existing defences are failing, cliffs are eroding, sea level is rising and storm impacts are being observed.

It is especially important because in many places there are vulnerable homes and societies, as well as infrastructure on the clifftop edge and near the shoreline that provides a vital strategic national energy security function.

For this reason, there is a strong desire among academics, consultancies and organisations concerned with coastal management, as well as stakeholders, to develop and oversee a thorough monitoring of the fate of the beaches and cliffs in the most vulnerable locations.


This grant will enable development, testing and application of micro-environmental sensors to monitoring shoreline change. By exploiting and applying the emergent technology of low power wireless communication and microelectronics, bespoke environmental sensors can be developed and placed within dynamic sedimentary structures, such as sand dunes and beaches, to monitor changes in pressure, temperature, moisture content and capture the systematic vibrations from breaking waves.

Other applications might include monitoring cliff failure processes, or coastal changes that might come about when artificial defences are maintained to protect the shoreline.