Cost- and energy-efficient IP audio encoding and automation devices central to non-intrusive audio research of life in the Antarctic Ocean
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, December 4, 2006 - Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, Intercom and monitoring, today announced that The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany is using Barix Instreamer IP audio encoding and Barionet IP automation devices to conduct underwater acoustic observation of marine life near Antarctica. The research is being conducted at the PerenniAL Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic Ocean (PALAOA), and is expected to run through spring 2011.
“The Barix devices are extremely useful in our research as they allow us to continuously record the audible part of the underwater soundscape at a low cost and with very low power consumption,” said Dr. Lars Kindermann of The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. “This allows us to collect data of the specific vocal repertoire of whales and seals in an environment almost undisturbed by humans, while also learning about the abundance, distribution and migration paths of marine mammals in the Antarctic Ocean. Additionally we can monitor the natural acoustic background of the marine Antarctic environment, such as underwater noise caused by calving icebergs.”
The Barix Instreamer records the underwater acoustics by means of attached hydrophones deployed into the waters of the Antarctic Ocean through the 100-meter thick ice layer of the Eckström ice shelf. The Barix Instreamer transmits the digitized audio via a 15 km wireless LAN to the German-owned Neumayer Base. There, the data is stored and a highly compressed audio stream is relayed via satellite link to AWI in Germany 15,000 km away, where the complete system is controlled and monitored. The stream is also fed directly into the public Internet via an IceCast server running at
. “The ability of the Instreamer to operate as an IceCast streaming source made the deployment of this highly distributed audio recording and distribution system very streamlined, using exclusively the freely available open source software tools from the IceCast project, which allows us to concentrate on the scientific analysis of the data,” said Kindermann.
The Barix Barionet features relay modules to control and supervise the observatory‘s energy system at PALAOA. The Barionet can automatically power down designated equipment if the battery voltage drops to a critical level. Barix temperature sensors supply information of the temperature conditions in the station, equipment cabinets and surrounding environment.
The Barix components were selected for their ability to meet the demanding technical requirements of an Antarctic installation, which include high reliability, low power consumption, long-distance remote control between Germany and Antarctica, and the ability to endure extreme temperatures - as low as minus 45° Celsius / minus 49° Fahrenheit.
“The observatory‘s isolation proved a big challenge due to its limited power supply,” said Kindermann. “The Barix devices offered the low-power consumption features we required to successfully transmit audio, monitor the power supply and oversee the control system. The flexibility, including the ability to program the devices, and efficiency of the complete Barix platform facilitate year-round autonomous operation for AWI.”
The Barix Instreamer and Barionet are economical in both cost and operation, as they require no maintenance and are free of moving parts. The devices can be remotely serviced and reprogrammed from anywhere, which reduces the need to send operational or engineering staff to the installation site.
Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO of Barix, said that the Instreamer conserves far more energy in comparison to other audio recording methods in harsh environments. “The main alternative method in this situation is to use a computer with a studio soundcard to record the audio, but that consumes far too much power in an environment where power is a luxury. The Instreamer has proven to be the most cost- and energy-efficient means for recording the audio, and the Barionet devices provide a clear sense of how the system is operating at all times, including an e-mail notification system to alert the operators of potential trouble situation. We are pleased to play a crucial role for data collection in the important and intriguing research project.”
About the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
The Alfred Wegener Institute researches the Arctic, Antarctic and Oceans. It coordinates the polar research in Germany and provides infrastructure such as the research icebreaker R/V Polarstern and research stations in the Artic and Antarctic to the international science community. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 15 research centers of the Helmholtz Association which is the largest science organization in Germany. Visit
for more information.
About Barix AG (
Barix AG, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, specializes in the research, development and manufacture of IP-based audio and data distribution, communication, monitoring, control, and automation hardware solutions for commercial, industrial, security and military applications. Barix‘s smart, reliable, compact, stand-alone components stream and communicate over standard network infrastructure and Internet, for local or worldwide networked solutions, eliminating the need for extra wiring and PCs. Barix provides customers with a wide range of additional services, including private labelling, licensing and OEM engineering.