Source: New York Times

Seabirds carrying radar detectors are regarded as a Technology Landmark for use in an OmegaMap. Widespread use could limit illegal ship activity.

The information presented here is based on an article “They’re Stealthy at Sea but They Can’t Hide From the Albatross” written by Katherine Kornel and published in the New York Times on 27 January 2020. This article comments on the work of Dr. Henri Weimerskirch a marine ecologist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Chize, France.

The locus of innovation is a new Principle of Operation combining the flight patterns of Albatrosses and data logging devices fitted to the birds. This makes it possible to pinpoint the locality of vessels engaged in illegal or nefarious activities. They switch their Automatic Identification System transponders off to avoid detection.

The effect of this innovation is to improve the Functionality : Transport-Information. Its position in the techno-sphere is indicated on the Functionality Grid. (See diagram below).

Two Functional Performance Metrics characterise the innovation:  (i) Coverage – surveying larger areas of ocean with less effort. (ii) Accuracy – positioning targeted vessels more precisely in a given expanse of ocean.

The Technology readiness level on a scale of 1 to 9 isTRL6 : i.e., “Technology demonstrated in relevant environment”.

Technical terminology is covered in: Van Wyk, Rias, (2017) Technology: Its Fundamental Nature, Beau Bassin, Mauritius, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, (

For descriptions of: 

  • Technology Landmark; pp. 83-84, Diagram 11.1, Stage 3
  • Principle of operation; p. 20
  • Functionality; pp. 24-25
  • OmegaMap; pp. 92-93
  • Functionality Grid; pp. 29-32
  • Technology readiness levels; pp. 22-2

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