My name is Bianca Mielke, and I am a Senior majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Dance at Union College. My senior capstone focuses on the design of a machine which will collect data underwater in Ballston Lake for ten years. Below is a brief introduction to my project and my initial design.






Ballston Lake is of interest to the Geology department because the layers of the lake have not mixed in thousands of years due to stratification. The purpose of this project is to design and implement a machine that is able to stay in Ballston Lake for 10 years while collecting data such as redox, salinity, and pH, and sending the data serially to a computer on shore. The machine will have four main components: the motor/drum, hardware components, the sensor package, and the wires that transmit the data to shore. The battery must be able to last a minimum of five years, and the system must be able to run for a minimum of three hours before requiring charging. The floating sensor must be able to measure redox, salinity, and pH. The machine must be able to autonomously rise one foot, stay still for one minute, then rise one foot again and repeat this process 130 times per day. The machine must be waterproof and also be able to operate in varying degrees of temperature with the coldest being 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

High Level of the Entire System


Block Diagram of the UDC
Current Machine: Full View
Current Machine: Circuit Boards



Professor James Hedrick: Thank you for your continuous patience with me, and your guidance throughout this term. I truly couldn’t have done it without your expertise and constant support! 

Professor George Shaw: Thank you for your interest in this project and your help with understanding Geology goals of this project!

All Union College ECE Faculty: Thank you for giving me the tools and electrical foundation for me to succeed this term.

Union College Student Research Committee: Thank you for your confidence in my project and for providing the monetary means for me to accomplish my goals!