Making a splash: Kanata's RBR lands $2M in federal funding for high-tech ocean sensors

New RBR office
RBR, which recently moved into a new office on Terry Fox Drive, has received $2 million in federal funding to build its next generation of ocean sensors. File photo

A Kanata firm that makes cutting-edge sensors used in ocean research has received a $2-million funding boost from the federal government to develop new technology.

RBR was one of three Canadian companies that landed a total of $12 million from the feds’ ocean supercluster program. The initiative aims to bring together partners in business, academia and government to come up with new products for industries such as fisheries, defence and shipping.

The local firm will work with researchers from Dalhousie University and experts from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to build a new generation of sensors that help track metrics such as the temperature, salt content and oxygen levels of oceans. 

The devices, which will be attached to unmanned vessels such as ocean gliders, will be used in climate change research, weather forecasting and monitoring the overall health of the world’s oceans.

The total price tag of the project is estimated at $3.6 million, with the three partners covering the remainder of the cost.

RBR president Greg Johnson said the new sensors will be more accurate, use less power and cost less to operate than current technology.

“The (new) funding enables a leap forward in our capabilities and reduces the timeline to bring these exciting new sensors to market,” he said in a statement.

Founded in 1973, RBR now has more than 60 employees in the National Capital Region and has an office in China as well as workers in the U.S., France and Australia. Its customers include NASA, the U.S.-based National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. National Science Foundation.