Bringing the Internet of Things Underwater

Fadel Adib
Associate Professor

MIT Media Lab
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, 3:10pm

Fewer than one in a million IoT devices are underwater, even though oceans cover more than 70% of our planet. In this talk, Dr. Adib will share his team’s ongoing journey to bring the internet of things underwater to support scientific discovery and help address global challenges ranging from climate change to food security.

Dr. Adib will focus on three new technologies we have invented. First, he will describe a new class of subsea wireless networks that can sense, compute, and communicate without requiring any batteries. Second, he will cover a new underwater GPS/navigation system powered by sound. The third and final technology he will describe focuses on direct underwater-to-air wireless communications. Dr. Adib will also describe the open problems facing these technologies, and our path forward deploying them in long-term ocean observations, coral reef monitoring, aquaculture, and marine life sensing. He will conclude the talk by describing how the fundamental innovations underlying these technologies extend beyond the ocean, and how his team also applies them to help address global problems in healthcare, robotics, and automation.


Fadel Adib is the Doherty Chair of Ocean Utilization and Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab and EECS. He directs the Signal Kinetics group which invents, builds, and deploys wireless and sensor technologies to address complex problems in society, industry, and ecology. Fadel’s research has received many awards including the NSF CAREER Award and the ONR Young Investigator Award. He was named by technology review as one of the world’s top 35 innovators under 35 and by Forbes as 30 under 30. His research was named as one of the 50 ways MIT has transformed computer science, and he was invited to the White House to demo his research to President Obama. Fadel is also an entrepreneur, and his commercialized technologies are used by major hospitals to monitor patients with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and COVID19.