Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - MARIABOX (MARINE environmental in situ Assessment and monitoring tool BOX)

Executive Summary:
The MariaBox project - “Marine environmental in situ assessment and monitoring toolbox” -, co-funded by the European Commission (Contract no.614088), has developed an autonomous, analytical device that exploits novel biosensors to monitor chemical and biological pollutants in seawater. The device has been designed as an instrument suitable for installation on buoys, ships or free-floating devices. It can also be used as a transportable instrument that fits in the back of a small minivan.
The main, high-level user requirements for the system were for the device to be sensitive, transportable and capable of repeating measurements over a long period time. The MariaBox has met those main requirements and delivered an instrument that can monitor marine waters for four categories of algae toxins and four categories of man-made chemicals, without the need for human intervention for up to six months. The device also includes sensors for the measurement of conventional water quality parameters, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and salinity. It is also capable of reading additional sensors, if this is required in specific scenarios.
One of the main novelties delivered are eight different biosensors for measuring concentrations of: Naphthalene, PFOS/PFOA, Heavy metals, Camphechlor, Saxitoxin, Microcystin, Azaspiracid and Domoic Acid. The MariaBox biosensors are designed in the form of discs (like a CD). A single disc contains enough biosensor sectors for detecting all 8 targeted analytes and can be used 3 times (usually one measurement per day is enough for most use cases). The incubation of water samples and the analysis process is implemented by spinning the disc at different speeds.
Data from the MariaBox device is wirelessly transmitted to the users through a combination of different wireless technologies. Depending on the specific scenario and location, data can be transmitted through Wi-Fi, 3G or a Satellite link. The MariaBox system is complemented by a cloud-based, data collection portal, used as a remote user interface to the device and its measurements. The MariaBox autonomous device and system provide the tools for environmental institutions, agencies and professionals to acquire precise, almost real-time, independent data on the environmental status of marine water quality. By sharing the data in an open way, MariaBox also facilitates the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The device is compatible with the INSPIRE directive, Copernicus and GOOS initiatives and SeaDataNet as well as the OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS). The lower target cost of the MariaBox system, in combination with its 6-month autonomous operation will allow continuous monitoring of the seas for much longer intervals with respect to today’s standards.
During the last stages of this 48-month project, four replicas of the MariaBox device were built and used for real-world demonstration of the technology through monitoring campaigns in Cyprus, Spain Ireland (on buoys) and Norway (inside a ferryboat).
The project included thirteen partners with complementary profiles: Universities, private companies and public institutions from six European countries: Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Ireland, UK and Norway. It has been coordinated by CyRIC - Cyprus Research and Innovation Center Ltd.
Project Context and Objectives:
Due to growing concerns about the health of the oceans and their capacity to continue to provide resources as well as associated risks to the human health, there is an increasing demand for real-time monitoring of the environmental status of marine water quality and the provision of early warning systems. As commercially available sensors tend to be too large, expensive, and power-hungry for widespread use, reducing the cost for acquisition of data is a key priority in order to implement EU legislations.
Biosensors are defined as compact, analytical devices that incorporate a biological or biologically derived sensing element either integrated within, or intimately associated with a physico-chemical transducer. For environmental applications, biosensors must compete with traditional techniques such as immunoassays, chemical test kits and laboratory testing. Portability and miniaturization are two aspects desirable for environmental biosensors since they could enable field use.
In order to respond to the aforementioned need and challenges, the MariaBox project has developed an autonomous, analytical device that exploits novel biosensors to monitor chemical and biological pollutants in seawater. The device has been designed as an instrument suitable for installation on buoys, ships or free-floating devices. It can also be used as a transportable instrument that fits in the back of a small minivan. The project included thirteen partners with complementary profiles: Universities, private companies and public institutions from six European countries: Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Ireland, UK and Norway. It has been coordinated by CyRIC - Cyprus Research and Innovation Center Ltd.

Main project objectives have been
• To develop new biosensors to monitor selected chemicals and toxins in seawater. Biosensors have been developed for 4 types of man-made chemicals and for 4 categories of microalgae toxins relevant to shellfish and fish farming. More in detail, eight different, new biosensors have been developed for measuring concentrations of: Naphthalene, PFOS/PFOA, Heavy metals, Camphechlor, Saxitoxin, Microcystin, Azaspiracid and Domoic Acid. The MariaBox biosensors are designed in the form of discs (like a CD). A single disc contains enough biosensor sectors for detecting all 8 targeted analytes and can be used 3 times (usually one measurement per day is enough for most use cases). The incubation of water samples and the analysis process is implemented by spinning the disc at different speeds.
• To produce a marine pollution-monitoring device, using the new biosensors, implemented as a set of autonomous modules for the analysis of marine pollutants and the assessment of water quality. The system should be suitable for free floating devices, buoys, ships, or to be used as a transportable instrument. The MariaBox project has met this objective and delivered an instrument that can monitor marine waters for the aforementioned four categories of algae toxins and four categories of man-made chemicals, without the need for human intervention for up to six months. The device also includes sensors for the measurement of conventional water quality parameters, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and salinity. It is also capable of reading additional sensors, if this is required in specific scenarios. The device design is fully modular, allowing easy reconfiguration.
• To develop a software platform and smartphone application for the marine monitoring and GOOS/GEOSS data collection and distribution so to be almost real-time available and interfaced to Copernicus. Data from the MariaBox device is wirelessly transmitted to the users through a combination of different wireless technologies. Depending on the specific scenario and location, data can be transmitted through Wi-Fi, 3G or a Satellite link. The MariaBox system is complemented by a cloud-based, data collection portal, used as a remote user interface to the device and its measurements. A mobile application has also been developed for facilitating device maintenance and easy access to the data, when in proximity of the device
• To establish a fully inter-operable MariaBox with existing observing systems and compatible with standard requirements such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the INSPIRE directive. The MariaBox autonomous device and system provide the tools for environmental institutions, agencies and professionals to acquire precise, almost real-time, independent data on the environmental status of marine water quality. By sharing the data in an open way, MariaBox also facilitates the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The device is compatible with the INSPIRE directive, Copernicus and GOOS initiatives and SeaDataNet as well as the OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS).
• To design and develop the MariaBox automatic calibration procedure and sensor replacement mechanism to ensure long term autonomous deployment. The device includes modules for automatic biosensors replacement and reuse. A novel design for automatic filter replacement has also been produced, for eliminating the risk of filter clogging. The biosensors platform also includes a sector for calibrating the measurement in an automated way.
• To prove the validity of the system in real and varying conditions in Norway, Cyprus, Ireland and Spain. During the last stages of this 48-month project, four replicas of the MariaBox device were built and used for real-world demonstration of the technology through monitoring campaigns in Cyprus, Spain Ireland (on buoys) and Norway (inside a ferryboat).
• To contribute in the development of new environmental monitoring standards. The increased spatio-temporal data availability, in combination with the longer operation period of MariaBox (with respect to currently available systems) will promote the development of new, stricter, environmental monitoring standards.
• To create a cost-effective system, suitable for large-scale production and exploitable as a commercially viable set of products. A thorough business plan has been delivered, explaining the cost-effectiveness of the approach and the exploitation potentials of the device and selected sub-modules.
• To prepare publications and to participate in conferences & trade fairs for the presentation of the MariaBox. Several publications, both in terms of scientific and technical publications, have been produced throughout the project lifetime. Furthermore, the project and selected results have been presented in conferences and exhibitions, including the prestigious Our Ocean conference, which is by invitation only. A final workshop, presenting the project results to the sector stakeholders has also been organised in Cyprus towards the end of the project. More workshops have also taken place in the project lifetime, often in collaboration with other EC funded projects in the same area.

Project Results:
MariaBox has delivered different Scientific and Technical (S/T) results, throughout its four years of operations. All of those are significant and build the base for the post-project exploitation of MariaBox. Those results are here summarised.
- The MariaBox mechanical design and automations. This in one of the key project results, since it includes several novel parts that allow the device to autonomously operate in the field for up to six months. Different sub-modules have been developed for this purpose:
o Automatic filter exchange mechanism: This module is responsible for automatically replacing all filters within the MariaBox device before any new measurement. In this way, filter clogging is avoided. The automatic filter exchange is also used to avoid sample cross-contamination. This is one of the key novelties of the MariaBox system and it is the first time such a mechanism is applied in an analytical instrument.
o Biosensors disc storage and transfer mechanism: This module is responsible for storing the biosensor discs in a controlled environment when they are not used, as well as for transferring a disc to the analysis chamber, each time a new measurement needs to be taken. The disc storage compartment is large enough to include biosensor discs for up to six months of unattended operation. Discs are transferred to and from the analysis chamber, using smart, drawer-like mechanism.
o Pipes cleaning and sample delivery mechanism: This module is responsible for cleaning all system pipes before and after each measurement. Several peristaltic pumps and sensors are combined for its development. The module is also responsible for delivering a sample in the biosensors disc. This operation requires high accuracy. A set of needles is used to puncture the membrane on top of the disc and a set of nozzles is used to deliver a precise sample quantity of a few μl inside the biosensors disc.
o Optical analysis module: This is responsible for reading the biosensor’s output. An LED is used to illuminate specific parts of the disc, while a photodetector is used to measure the intensity of the fluorescence on the disc. The module includes optical filters in front of both the LED (source) and the photodetector (receiver). An optical fibre is used to precisely drive the laser on the disc. The whole optical analysis module is mounted on a mechanism that allow moving it on two axes. Manual adjustments to the positioning of the photodetector and LED are also allowed by the smart design of this module.
o The MariaBox integrated prototype, as a whole: The aforementioned modules, together with other components and conventional modules (such as a refrigeration unit) have been combined in an optimal way to deliver the integrated MariaBox device that was used in the demo sites. The overall external dimensions of MariaBox are 100×100×55 cm. The MariaBox device has been developed as a marine environment analysis device for monitoring chemical and biological pollutants while installed in a buoy or onboard a maritime means of transport. The main device is transportable and capable of repeating measurements over a long time, allowing long term deployment at sea
- The MariaBox-CORE and related electronics: This is the “brain” of the MariaBox device. The MariaBox-CORE has been designed to manage all modules integrated in the system. The embedded software developed allows controlling the analysis process performed in MariaBox and share the information with MariaBox-NET and MariaBox-MOB, through the MariaBox-COMM module. Besides, MariaBox-CORE can process all messages received from MariaBox-NET and MariaBox-MOB and modify system configuration according to user requirements. In order to meet the functional feature requirements for this module, two additional elements for temperature control and optical system reading were designed. Due to the quantity of peripherals that must be managed, the MariaBox-CORE is based on a solution with two control boards: a main board with a Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz microprocessor and a secondary board with an 8051 microprocessor, acting as a port expander. The microprocessors are connected via a High-Speed SPI port, in order to reduce latency. The MariaBox-CORE is highly flexible in terms of ports available.
- The MariaBox-POW: This module is the power converter to provide power to the MariaBox-CORE system from a battery or any unregulated source of DC voltage between 9V to 16V. The aim of this module is to maintain its outputs voltages stable and constant during the operation and lifetime of the MariaBox system. The POW module offers protection against output overcurrent, reverse polarity input, overtemperature safe turn off. The connectors present and the aluminium enclosure box are IP67 and NEMA 4X respectively, protection against dust and water. The MariaBox-POW module has been implemented with monolithic DC/DC converters. The operation of the POW module is completely autonomous and it does not need any control signal to start to operate. The stand-by average current of the -POW module is of 750 mA, when a typical input voltage of 12V are present at the input connector. It can be seen an external module to the main MariaBox device, thus increasing the flexibility and modularity of the design.
- The MariaBox-COMM: The MariaBox communication module is responsible for sending the data from the MariaBox device to the data management software platform (-NET). The communication module uses Wi-Fi, 3G/GPRS technology, and satellite data transmission technology for remote locations where the cell phone network option is not available. The MariaBox-COMM module is composed of a Wi-Fi router, a 3G/4G router, a 3G/4G USB modem and an Inmarsat EXPLORE 510 SATCOM terminal. It is housed inside a waterproof enclosure. The communication module has been developed including a set of plug & play components to provide flexible/extendable communication links for all demo sites. It can be seen an external module to the main MariaBox device, thus increasing the flexibility and modularity of the design.
- The MariaBox-NET: The MariaBox portal (also referred to as MariaBox-NET) makes near real-time MariaBox sensor data from the various MariaBox devices deployed available to the MariaBox team and other possible users. Data is transmitted from the MariaBox devices and, more specifically from the MariaBox-CORE of each device and made available to the MariaBox-NET via TCP/IP ports. The data is then processed, stored and made available to the user by the MariaBox-NET platform. Linux-based systems are utilised to acquire, transmit, process and validate the data before it is stored in a Cassandra database. Erddap and ASP.Net web-based applications make this data available to the users. A web-based sensor observation service is also utilised to make data available to users in an interoperable format. The applications also permit selected users to send configuration and control commands to the MariaBox-CORE. Users can access the portal and Erddap via a graphical user interface. The web applications and all associated middleware systems are hosted in Microsoft Azure. Erddap is used to make MariaBox data available is a variety of formats e.g. json, .mat, .kml, .csv, .htmlTable. A dashboard is used to provide visibility to alarms generated by the MariaBox-CORE of each deployed device.
- The MariaBox-MOB: The MariaBox-MOB is the mobile application developed to communicate with the MariaBox device, when the user is in proximity of the device for maintenance purposes or in case of failure of the communication between the MariaBox Communication module (-COMM) and MariaBox-NET online platform. The MariaBox tablet application is the physical user interface of the system and covers a broad range of end-users’ requirements. The application interfaces with the transmission module of the MariaBox-CORE and allows end-users to monitor and to modify various configuration parameters. The MariaBox-MOB application is based on the Android mobile operating system.
- A new smart buoy: In order to deploy the MariaBox device in the Cyprus and Spain pilots, a completely new smart buoy was developed and delivered by the project. Two buoys were designed and developed for the pilot demonstrations. Given the fact that the buoy used for the pilot demonstration in Spain had to be packed and transferred safely from Cyprus to the demonstration location in Spain, the size of the buoys varies: The buoy for the Spanish demo has smaller dimensions than the other one. Each buoy consists of the following parts: a) The base (the main part) that includes the waterproof box for housing the MariaBox system and space for hosting battery compartments, water tanks, power module and communication module, b) Iron tube 8 " (the bottom part), sch 80 with flange, c) Iron construction (top part) for hosting the solar panels, marine lantern and radar reflector, d) Waterproof box with a door at each surface, excluding the top and bottom surface (4 doors at each buoy), so as to allow direct access to the MariaBox system for maintenance and repair when and if needed.
- Biosensors disc platform for 8-analytes: This is the biosensors disc platform used for the final validations. The disc integrates all eight (8) biosensors developed within the project. Each disc has three (3) identical sectors, each including all eight biosensors. So, it can be used for measuring three times the targeted parameters, before being discarded. The disc was manufactured from PMMA sheets and PSA. The discs were manufactured through assembling consecutive layers of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA). The roof was additionally covered using PSA to act as a manual active microfluidic valve. An autonomous valving method was adapted, whereby active, non-mechanical and air-tight microvalves (or more specifically, polyvinyl-alcohol-based water-soluble (KC-35) dissolvable film (DF) which undergoes phase change upon liquid contact causing it to dissolve) was integrated onto the disc to allow the required assay time delays. The approach differed through substitution of the pneumatic chamber shape with a more refined and reliable design, thus only allowing liquid-DF contact to occur once the pneumatic chamber storing the DF valve reaches sufficient compression, which can be achieved through generated centrifugal force. To prevent premature compression of the pneumatic chamber, a second valve was placed at the entrance of the pneumatic chamber to temporarily halt liquid progression.
- Biosensors disc platform for 3-analytes: This was a simpler version of the 8-analytes disc, used only in one of the four MariaBox demos. It is manufactured with the same techniques and principles, as the final 8-analytes disc, but includes only three biosensors. As in the 8-analytes disc, it can be used for three measurements, before being fully utilised. Due to the simplicity of the design, it is a cheaper alternative with respect to the 8-analytes disc. It can be a useful tool for application where measurement of fewer parameters is required.
- MariaBox PFOA/PFOS biosensor: A biosensor able to detect PFOA and PFOS in seawater has been developed and validated. The PFOS/PFOA biosensor of MariaBox is particularly valuable for near the coast measurements (for example near ports or aquaculture sites).
- MariaBox Naphthalene biosensor: A biosensor able to detect Naphthalene in seawater has been developed and validated. The sensor developed is sensitive enough to allow monitoring the target pollutant, following regulatory requirements.
- MariaBox heavy metals biosensor: The heavy metal biosensor was tested for its ability to quantify various metal ions (Zn2+, Cu2+, Cb2+, Pb2+, Cd2+ and Hg2+) in seawater. The test results confirmed the usability of the biosensor to deliver metal quantifications at acceptable performance levels. The MariaBox generic heavy metals biosensor can be used as a generic early warning system with respect to the increased presence of heavy metals. This can be of interest for certain application scenarios (monitoring of protected marine parks for example).
- MariaBox Camphechlor biosensor: A biosensor to detect Camphechlor was developed. The binding efficiency of the antibodies on the biosensor’s surface was tested successfully. Due to limited quantity of antibodies available, this sensor was not fully validated within project duration.
- MariaBox Saxitoxin biosensor: A biosensor for Saxitoxin was also developed and integrated on the microfluidics disc platform. All MariaBox biosensors for algae toxins are a significant advancement of the state-of-the-art, since currently these toxins are not measured directly in water, but, usually, in shellfish flesh. The sensor’s performance was validated with sea water samples.
- MariaBox Microcystin biosensor: A biosensor for Microcystin was also developed and integrated on the microfluidics disc platform. Microcystins are produced by certain freshwater cyanobacteria (primary by Microcystis sp.) during algal blooms and they pose a major threat to drinking and irrigation water supplies. More recently, development of toxic levels of microcystin has been recognised as a hazard also in brackish marine waters, as well as in seawater in coastal bay areas that are significantly influenced by surface runoff. The sensor’s performance was validated with sea water samples.
- MariaBox Azaspiracid biosensor: A biosensor for Azaspiracid was also developed and integrated on the microfluidics disc platform. Azaspiracids are a group of structurally related polyether toxins that are produced by marine dinoflagellates and cause so-called Azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP), a condition involving nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. The sensor’s performance was validated with sea water samples.
- MariaBox Domoic Acid biosensor: A biosensor for Domoic Acid was also developed and integrated on the microfluidics disc platform. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by the marine diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia sp. Ingestion of this Domoic Acid contaminated shellfish may lead to the condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), a condition that affects the brain, causing seizures, and may also be lethal.
- Knowledge on user requirements: User requirements have been collected and analysed in the initial phases of the project. Identifying user requirements was a very significant result, which allowed developing a system with high value and immediate applicability.
- Review of Data Management standards and regulations applicable to MariaBox: Standards have been analysed in three different areas: a) data collection at sensor level; b) structures for data processing and storage; c) data publication and dissemination, including geospatial data handling and visualization. This review is an important result, in view of real-world exploitation of the MariaBox system and the generated data.
- Review of current methods that are accepted standards for the measurement of chemical pollutants present in the marine water priority, lists as defined by the Directive 2008/105/EC (and additional regulatory frameworks). The report produced is useful also for other projects and initiatives developing sensors and sensing instruments for marine water quality monitoring.
- Review of regulatory issues and standards related to the monitoring and assessment of the selected analytes in marine waters. This includes also detailed descriptions of relevant performance criteria for the analysis of the selected analytes in relation to existing environmental quality standards (EQSs) (where relevant), limits of detection (LOD), limits of quantification (LOQ) (in relation to EQS values) and uncertainty at EQS levels. The report produced is useful also for other projects and initiatives developing sensors and sensing instruments for marine water quality monitoring.
- Four newsletters: The first two editions of the newsletter presented the project and the latest developments. The next two editions were newsletter made in common with the other EU projects under the same topic. They were shared with a database of stakeholders and are also available for everyone to download through the project website.
- Project website: The www.mariabox.eu project website is available since the early stages of the project and will be kept up to date even after the end of the funding period. It presents all main project results, as well as news and contact details.
- Five workshops organised in collaboration with other EC projects in the same area: The workshops allowed exchanging valuable experiences and develop parts of our systems in compatibility with each other. They were also useful for multiplying the impact of our dissemination actions.
- Three MariaBox workshops: The first was organised in 2014 and all other active OCEAN projects participated. The second one was organised within the context of the Ferrybox meeting in 2017 and the third one as a full day event in Cyprus. Several sector stakeholders participated in the events, including representatives of the end-user communities and the scientific world.
- More than ten conference presentations: Scientific results of different parts of the project were presented in more than ten conferences throughout the four-year duration of the MariaBox project.
- Six scientific publications (plus 2 more pending publication): Scientific results of major importance and possible impact have been presented though peer-reviewed publications.
- Know-how generated: Through the four years of the project, significant know-how was generated within the consortium in different areas, including immobilisation techniques for different types of biosensors on the PMMA disc, mechanical automations for in-situ marine analysis, electronics robustification for marine conditions, environmental data management, regulatory issues and more. This result, even though not as tangible and directly exploitable as the previous ones, is key for all the consortium and is fundamental for the exploitation of other results. Significant know-how and knowledge has also been shared with the community, through the project dissemination activities, including publications, newsletters and workshops.

Potential Impact:
The MariaBox project and final results present huge potentials for having a significant impact on the way we monitor our oceans’ health, as well as on the society in general. Of course, direct impact is also expected on the project participants, based on the exploitation of the project results.

Impact #1: Provide a large increase in the temporal and geographic coverage from in-situ marine sensors to enhance the European contribution to Global Monitoring of the Oceans. The MariaBox project provides the tools for Environmental Institutions, Agencies and professionals to acquire independent environmental data and knowledge in the frame of a participatory approach in which the environmental community-based approach feeds also information to decision makers and scientific institutions. The lower target commercial price of the MariaBox system, in combination with its target increased autonomous operation period will allow a continuous monitoring of the seas for much longer intervals in comparison with today’s standards. Of course, a few more steps are needed before the MariaBox can be considered a ready-to-market solution. Those have been considered in the project business and exploitation plan. Because of the relatively low cost, many MariaBox systems could be used in various scenarios (buoys, boats, even free-floating devices, etc.). Four pilot MariaBox sites have been setup during the project to cover different areas with different characteristics (Cyprus, Ireland, Norway and Spain). The data collection is standardised, in order to be directly usable by any interested end-users.

Impact #2: Increase availability of standardised in-situ data that is suitable for integration within key marine observation, modelling and monitoring systems and reduce ocean modelling uncertainty. The data generated by the MariaBox in-situ monitoring devices are standardised, in order to facilitate their integration within key marine and earth observation platforms, as well as for facilitating their exploitation by the end-users. The architecture developed for managing streaming data has been designed with data access through standardised interfaces in mind. The NOAA ERDDAP and OGC Sensor Observation Service interfaces have been utilised in the MariaBox project.
NOAA designed the ERDDAP data server software to give users a simple, consistent way to download subsets of scientific datasets in common data formats. ERDDAP allows a single point of access to multiple data servers such as flat files, OpenDAP and Sensor Observation Services and can be accessed by the construction of URL based queries to the data server in order to load data either into web or desktop-based applications. ERDDAP has been used extensively as the data backbone in the creation of sites such as Ireland’s Digital Ocean (http://www.digitalocean.ie).
An OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS) with a minimal set of operations to support the standard has been developed. This has been deployed as a set of scripts initiated by an NGINX web server communicating with the Apache Cassandra data store. The scripts implement the GetCapabilities, DescribeSensor and GetObservation requests of the SOS specification. A new server was developed in order to take advantage of the Apache Cassandra data store.
Due to the number of profiles which have been developed for the Observations and Measurements information model, which is the standard returned by a GetObservation request to an SOS, it is not always possible to guarantee interoperability between SOS instances. However, the SOS developed for MariaBox uses the SeaDataNet vocabulary terms to describe parameters, instruments and units of measure ensuring that it is compatible with the real-time data requirements of SeaDataNet and is interoperable with the delayed mode data produced by the project. This also allows the SOS data to be easily combined with the data which ICES make available through SeaDataNet.
The MariaBox SOS provides ISO compliant OGC Observations and Measurements records using controlled vocabulary references, which is required to meet the INSPIRE directive and requirements. The MariaBox SOS is compatible with the Jericho network of data as both MariaBox and Jericho utilise SOS.

Impact #3: Reduce cost of data collection system in support of fisheries management. The reduced cost of the system and its other cost-effective characteristics (long autonomy period, automatic calibration, automatic sensor replacement) will allow reducing the cost of data collection also in support of the fisheries. In fact, several of the parameters monitored by MariaBox are important for fisheries and the aquaculture.

Impact #4: Advance competitiveness for European Industry's & particularly SME's within the marine sensing sector. The MariaBox tangible results, as presented before, have significant exploitation perspectives. A business plan has been prepared, describing the consortium’s plan for reaching the market. Half of the consortium partners are SMEs and they expect be able to launch MariaBox-related projects soon. Furthermore, MariaBox will empower the European industry in general, providing tools ready to be exploited in the framework of amelioration of the quality controls of relevance for Aquaculture, Fisheries and Fishing activities.

Impact #5: Enable better cooperation between key sectors (Manufacturing Industry, ICT, Maritime Industry, Marine Science, Fisheries etc.). The MariaBox consortium included key partners from all stakeholder categories: end-users, authorities responsible for the implementation of Directives, electronics and mechatronics manufacturers, software developers, buoy manufacturers manufacturing and system integration industry, biosensor development experts, marine scientists, and researchers. Fisheries are also in close contact to the consortium. Strong cooperation has been established and these links are also important for post-project activities and initiatives.

Impact #6: Support to the implementation of European Maritime Policies. The MariaBox autonomous device and system provide the tools for environmental institutions, agencies and professionals to acquire precise, almost real-time, independent data on the environmental status of marine water quality. By sharing the data in an open way, MariaBox also facilitates the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The device is compatible with the INSPIRE directive, Copernicus and GOOS initiatives and SeaDataNet as well as the OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS). The MariaBox platform also provides technical tools, in order to support the National implementations of the Discharge of dangerous substances directive (Directive 76/464/EEC) and the article 16 of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) that sets out "Strategies against pollution of water".

Impact #7: Promote new discoveries leading to better understanding of the seas. The MariaBox platform has been developed in a modular way, to allow easy adaptation for measuring additional or different parameters, depending on the target application. The availability of the MariaBox device, but also of the sensors and sensor platform promotes the development of different types of marine monitoring systems and sensors, operating at complete autonomy, leading to a better understanding of the seas.

Impact #8: Quality of Life and Socio-Economic Impact. Biosensors and autonomous instrumentation technology can, in the long-term, enable the design of portable and miniature devices for the automated testing of pollutants and pathogens. The importance of this ultimately leads to citizens of the EU who are increasingly concerned with the origin and quality of the food they consume, as well as for the quality of the bathing waters. The EU has organised itself with appropriate bodies to organise the regulatory matters controlling what enters the food chain, but this still remains a formidable task. For example, REACH is a European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. At the same time, innovative capability and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry should be enhanced. The benefits of the REACH system will come gradually, as more and more substances are phased into REACH. A second example is the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; http://echa.europa.eu/home_en.asp) in Helsinki that has been created to monitor what chemicals are in use and how they are discarded. There are also other European bodies, namely, the European Environment Agency (EEA) (http://www.eea.europa.eu/) that oversee a large number of regulatory and policy matters regarding the status of the environment with an attempt to control it. The EAA is now faced with the task of maintaining public confidence regarding each new environmental scare. Since many environmental pollutants enter the food chain, other European bodies such as EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) are also faced with the task of controlling public concerns over the misuse of pollutants.
The knowledge acquired in this project, is useful for designing procedures and devices that can facilitate monitoring of different types of substances. The principles and solutions found for the analytes on which the project focuses, are likely to be applicable to larger groups of molecules/compounds. From this point of view, the project results can be used in two main directions: a) that of improving sensitivity and accuracy of laboratory-based instrumentation and procedures, b) that of designing simplified and light devices and procedures for monitoring that could eventually be used in the field.

Impact #9: Impact on the consortium partners. An exploitation plan has been prepared, describing the path to full validation and eventually commercialisation of the MariaBox project results. The foreseen impact in terms of financial benefits for the partners is significant, given the potential impact of the system. In principle, the main results to be commercially exploited include: a) the MariaBox device/ instrumentation hardware design, including mechanical design of sub-modules, b) the MariaBox-CORE and related electronics, c) the MariaBox-POW and MariaBox-COMM, d) the MariaBox-NET, e) the MariaBox-MOB, f) the new buoy used in Spanish and Cypriot pilots, e) the biosensors disc platform and f) the MariaBox-BIO and -CHE biosensors.

Regarding the MariaBox dissemination activities completed in the four years duration of the project, those are here summarised:
- Five workshops were organised in collaboration with other EC projects in the same area. The workshops allowed exchanging valuable experiences and develop parts of our systems in compatibility with each other. They were also useful for multiplying the impact of our dissemination actions. Two workshops were organised in 2015, two in 2016 and one in 2017.
- Three additional orkshops were also organised by the MariaBox projet alone. The first one was organised in 2014 and all EC projects in the area were also invited and participated. The second one was organised within the context of the Ferrybox meeting in 2017 and the third one as a full day event in Cyprus. Several sector stakeholders participated in the events, including representatives of the end-user communities and the scientific world.
- Four newsletters. The first two editions of the newsletter presented the project and the latest developments. The next two editions were newsletter made in common with the other EU projects under the same topic. They were shared with a database of stakeholders and are also available for everyone to download through the project website.
- The MariaBox website (www.mariabox.eu) was setup early in the project and was used a main dissemination hub. It has been regularly updated and a completely refurbished version was developed on the third year of the project.
- MariaBox Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts were setup and used for reaching a wider audience.
- Conference and event presentation: CyRIC presented MariaBox in the Our Ocean Conference (Idea Stage) in Washington DC (15-16 September 2016). The conference is by invitation only and MariaBox was selected among hundreds of candidates (after several interviews and screening processes) as the only European project presented in the event.
- Journal publication: FUN team, "A new peptide-based fluorescent probe selective for zinc(II) and copper(II)", J. Mater. Chem. B, 2016
- Journal publication: CNR and CyRIC team, “A High Sensitivity Biosensor to detect the presence of perfluorinated compounds in environment”, Talanta, Volume 178, 1 February 2018, Pages 955-961
- Conference publication: DCU team, “Novel One-Step Centrifugal Sensor System for the Detection of Cyanobacterial Toxin Microcystin-LR”, ASLO, 27th February 2015, Granada, Spain
- Conference publication: DCU team, “Novel method for the detection of cyanobacterial toxin microcystin-LR using a centrifugal microfluidic (Lab-On-A-Disc) sensing system”, Environ, April 8th-10th 2015, Institute of Technology, Sligo.
- Conference publication: DCU team, “Novel One-Step Centrifugal Sensor System for the Detection of Cyanobacterial Toxin Microcystin-LR”, SETAC, 3rd-7th May 2015, Barcelona, Spain
- Conference publication: K46, “MariaBox: first prototype of a novel instrument to observe natural and chemical pollutants in seawater”, Oceans ’17 MTS/IEEE ABERDEEN, 19-22 June 2017-02-27
- Conference publication: “A new peptide-based fluorescent probe selective for mercury(II)”, Applied Nanotechnology and Nanoscience International Conference 18 – 20 October 2017, Rome, Italy
- Conference publication: DCU team, The Autonomous Analytical Algal Detection Platform. Keynote address EUROANALYSIS 2015 Conference, 6th – 10th September 2015, Bordeaux, France
- Conference publication: Multiple consortium partners (K46 leader), “MARIABOX an autonomous sea water pollution monitoring device for natural and man-made pollutants: challenging user requirements and tackling design criticalities”, CEMEPE 5th International Conference on Environmental Management, Engineering, Planning and Economics, 14-18 June 2015 Mykonos, Greece.
- Conference publication: Multiple consortium partners (CyRIC leader), “An in-situ marine pollution monitoring device, based on new biosensors, designed for long-term unsupervised autonomy: system requirements and design approach”, CEST2015 - 14th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, Rhodes, Greece, 3/9 – 5/9/2015
- Conference publication and poster: Multiple consortium partners (CSIC leader), “MARIABOX an autonomous monitoring device for marine pollution: from the laboratory to a product: design challenges and real world trade-off”, MARTECH 2015, 6th International Workshop on Marine Technology, 15 - 17 September 2015, Cartagena, Spain.
- Conference publication, DCU team, “Centrifugally Automated Detection of Algal Toxins”, MicroTAS, Hwabeck International Conference Centre, October 25th-29th 2015, Gyeongju, Republic of Korea.
- Project presentation by SGX: “Smart buoys as a tool for sea protection and promotion”, Participation in ZENOBIA WEEK 2015, Conference “Artificial Reefs Management. Prospectus & Benefits for Diving Tourism”, 30 June 2015, Larnaca Cyprus
- Presentation in event: K46, SEA-on-a-CHIP 2nd Progress Workshop, ”Monitoring for a sustainable management of marine resources”, 13th April 2016
- 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 27th September 2016, Exhibition Stand dedicated to the Project
- Presentation of the MariaBox during the Re-Work public technology summit in London, 18th September 2014
- Information about the project was published in the in Oceans of Tomorrow (2010-2013) Projects Book by the EC
- Information about the project was published in the websites of all partners. Updates were also published, as the project progressed. News were also published in the newsletters of certain partners.
- Project information and news was diffused by the partners through different short presentations in events in which they regularly participate

Regarding the exploitation of the project results, a business plan (confidential) has been prepared. The main exploitable results of the project are presented below:
1-MariaBox device/ instrumentation hardware design, including mechanical design of sub-modules
2-MariaBox-CORE and related electronics
3-MariaBox-POW and MariaBox-COMM
4-MariaBox-NET
5-MariaBox-MOB
6-New buoy used in Spanish and Cypriot pilots
7-Biosensors disc platform and MariaBox-BIO biosensors
8-PFOA and heavy metals biosensors
9-CHOR biosensor
10-Naphthalene biosensor

Of course, some of the results are linked to each other, allowing the possibility to develop more complex, jointly owned results, such as, for example, a MariaBox 8-analytes disc
List of Websites:
www.cyric.eu
Contact: Dr Panayiotis Philimis (Project Coordinator) - info@cyric.eu
CyRIC - Cyprus Research and Innovation Center Ltd
Tel: +357 22 777200

Related information

Reported by

CY.R.I.C CYPRUS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION CENTER LTD
Cyprus
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top