My professional life was dedicated to the development and use of acoustical systems to detect and classify biological organisms in the oceans and in lakes. I did other things as well, of course, but this was the topic that intrigued me first in graduate school and was the main topic of my interest until I retired in 2006. My education was in Physics and Physical Oceanography but a chance opportunity to work in underwater acoustics at the Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas, coupled with my lifelong interest in the sea (California beachbum, Navy, skin-diver) provided a unique set of tools for me to use. Then a required class at Oregon State University in Biological Oceanography, taught by the highly-respected Dr. Charlie Miller, showed me the wonders of marine life -- particularly the zooplankton -- and connected my background, skills, and interests into a life-long pursuit.

Along the way, I have gained some experience in areas related to the devices I created and/or adapted for this work. Since acoustic systems rely upon transducers to both produce sound and detect sound, I have used and built a large number of transducers over frequency ranges from audible to 10 MHz. Learning from the experts at
ARL, principally, and reading the literature, I have come up with some techniques for building and tuning transducers for both laboratory and field use that may be of some interest to other researchers.

I learned electronics in the Navy. Of course, the systems I worked on aboard ship used vacuum tubes! Not very practical for modern compact sensor systems operating on batteries. But transistors were not that hard to learn to deal with and integrated circuits made detailed design knowledge of transistors less vital to circuit design. Plus, I learned how to steal circuits and ideas from experts. Folks like Frank Evans and Walt Dillon at OSU, for example.

Lately, no sensor is considered complete without an embedded computer. My wife and I took only one class together at UT and that was assembly-language programming using a made-up language that was similar to that used on the CDC-3200 computers of the era. Learning other machine dialects proved pretty easy. My first high-level computer language was GOTRAN, an interpreted subset of Fortran that ran on an obsolete IBM computer that used decimal arithmetic registers. At UT I took a class in Algol -- based on some wishful thinking by the teacher of the class who recommended this language lab. I never wrote an Algol program that accomplished anything but I did learn Fortran on the CDC machines from a book at ARL. And later learned Focal and Basic the same way. I learned Forth after selecting a low-power CPU card for a project in 1990, which came with this as the operating system. Ended up using several of their cards (New Micros Inc, in Dallas -- who seems to be out of business now) in later versions of sensors and wrote a lot of Forth code. Turns out that Forth is that dirty little secret buried in lots of consumer items like digital cameras. It isn't advertised because it isn't fashionable but it is a way to very rapidly produce robust code in an embedded system. I cannot stand C or any of it's derivatives -- it seems to be made up of the worst parts of all the languages I've ever learned and makes me crabby to deal with. Bah!

So … my plan is to fill this section of the website with bits and bobs of stuff I've picked up over the years that I think might be of interest to folks doing similar work in biological remote sensing. Or who have a need to build a laboratory ultrasonics device and don't want to become experts on all aspects of the design. Also, to illustrate some disparate applications of ultrasound in the ocean.

The links are organized around several systems that I designed (TAPS, SandScan, WHAPS) and also by application (CIRCUITS, TRANSDUCERS, FORTH). When this was written, these sections were largely blank. I will work as diligently as retirement allows to fill them up with content. But ... my racecar beckons.