Sunburst Employees Support Girls in STEM

Sunburst employees are key supporters of a Girl Scout troop and their First Lego League robotics team, the Intergalacducks.  This team of 11 – 14 year old girls built a Lego robot and programmed it to complete several “missions” in the Into Orbit Challenge.  They also researched and presented the idea of growing edible flowers in space using hydroponics as a means of improving mental and physical health of astronauts.  The team won first place in a competition between 77 teams from Montana.  This propelled them to the FLL World Festival in Houston, TX, in April 2019.  The Intergalacducks thank Sunburst for financial contributions and coaching!


SAMI-CO2 Instruments Help Our Understanding of the Role of the Arctic Ocean in Climate Variability

In September of 2018, two ice-tethered profilers (ITP) with SAMI-CO2 instruments were deployed beneath Arctic sea ice. The ITPs include a surface buoy with satellite transmitter and CTD profiler that measures physical and biogeochemical properties from the surface to 800 m depth. The SAMIs are deployed directly under the ice at ~6 m. The ITPs are analogous to the Argo float program that deploys profiling floats in the oceans (Figure 1). Cory Beatty from Mike DeGrandpre’s lab at the University of Montana was part of the 2018 expedition, deploying SAMI-CO2 instruments on two of the ITPs (ITP 107 and 110). Sunburst worked with Beatty to configure the SAMIs to transmit data in real time via an inductive modem. pCO2 measured at ITP 107 is shown in Figure 2. The complete data sets can be viewed and downloaded


Figure 1. ITP drift track as of April 24, 2019. ITP drift (yellow line), latest location (triangle), BGOS moorings (white circles), annual ice drift from IABP (grey vectors), on IBCAO bathymetry (shading). Link to track.

Figure 2. Cory Beatty of University of Montana deploying a SAMI-CO2 through the ice.


Figure 3. Data from ITP107, collected and made available by the Ice-Tethered Profiler Program (Toole et al., 2011; Krishfield et al., 2008) based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ( .


Sunburst Sensors LLC makes generous donation to Climate Smart Missoula

MISSOULA, MT (October 9, 2015) – Sunburst Sensors LLC announced they are donating $10,000 from their recent Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE to the newly launched community initiative, Climate Smart Missoula. Sunburst Sensors is a Missoula-based manufacturing company which makes devices to measure changes in ocean chemistry and is co-owned by James Beck and Michael DeGrandpre.

“Climate Smart Missoula is a grass roots group working locally to reduce our climate impacts and we are excited to help support their efforts”, say Beck and DeGrandpre.   “We’re not getting sufficient action from the top-down on this issue, so it’s up to cities and states to act on their own.  Though we are a manufacturing company with customers around the world, we try to use local suppliers and want to support our community.  Winning the recent XPRIZE awards gives us an opportunity to do something extra.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be the recipient of such a generous donation,” said Amy Cilimburg, Director of Climate Smart Missoula. “This donation is crucial seed money as we work to fulfill our mission: to be the hub that fosters partnerships and actions to address climate change in our community. We hope this encourages others in our community to consider being part of climate solutions by sharing their time, innovative ideas, or financial contributions with us.  It’s an exciting time to catalyze change right here in Missoula, Montana.”

Read more: Climate Smart Donation

XPrize Media Links

The following are links to various media relating to Sunburst Sensors' participation in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPrize:


CBS This Morning (July 21, 2015) - Link

The Weather Channel with Al Roker (July 21, 2015) - Link

HuffPo Live (July 21, 2015) - Link

XPrize Produced Video about Sunburst - Link

Award Ceremony (forward to 1:45:00 for team intros, 1:55:00 for actual awards ) - Link

Natural Resources Defense Counsel Video - Link

KPAX (local - August 5, 2015) - Link

Read more: XPrize Media Links

Sunburst Sensors Advances to Phase 3 of $2 Million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE


Missoula, Mont. (February 20, 2015) - Sunburst Sensors, LLC, a Missoula, Montana based company, has advanced to the third phase of the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition that challenges individuals and teams to build innovative pH sensor technology that will accurately measure and advance the understanding of ocean acidification. The 14 remaining teams are competing for two prize purses: the $1M accuracy purse, based on performance, and the $1M affordability purse based on cost and usability.

Earlier this month, teams submitted their sensor for a month-long performance test in a coastal environment at the Seattle Aquarium, where each device will make hourly measurements over the course of a 30-day period and have them compared to reference laboratory pH readings. Sunburst Sensors has entered two separate instruments in the competition both based on their existing product, the SAMI-pH. To compete for the affordability purse, Sunburst Sensors developed the iSAMI-pH, with the ‘i’ standing for ‘inexpensive.’

“Because the affordability purse does not require the same level of accuracy or measurements in deep water, we could greatly simplify our design using less expensive parts,” said James Beck, President of Sunburst Sensors. “It’s not pretty but it works well.”

The company has also entered the tSAMI-pH for the accuracy purse, which has a 3000 meter depth requirement. This sensor was designed for the next phase of the competition, which includes deep-sea trials in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii that will put devices through real-world depth and pressure scenarios, slated to take place in May 2015.

Read more: Sunburst Sensors Advances to Phase 3 of Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE