BLUEiQ’s Novel OpenEar Hydrophone Aims to Protect North Atlantic Right Whales

An estimated 50-80% of all life on our planet resides underwater, including marine mammals that rely on acoustics for communication, feeding, navigation, and survival. Yet there remains a striking lack of development in this field due to the challenges in data collection. 

BLUEiQ is a pioneering women-owned startup on a mission to revolutionize passive acoustic sensing. Their breakthrough innovation, OpenEar, is a unique, low-cost, lightweight ML-enabled, software-defined hydrophone, driven by the open-standard technology of Bristlemouth.



At the 2023 OCEANS Gulfcoast Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi, BLUEiQ proudly unveiled OpenEar, showcasing its integration with Sofar's Spotter buoy and Smart Mooring using the Bristlemouth open standard. This technological marvel empowers scientists with the insights they need to protect marine life, especially the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW). NARWs face threats on multiple fronts, from ship collisions to the disruption of their communication due to human-generated ocean noise and changes in their food sources caused by climate change. BLUEiQ's mission is clear: Apply OpenEar to combat these challenges. Real-time alerts will help prevent ship strikes and protect whale migration patterns, furthering conservation efforts.

With OpenEar, BLUEiQ offers a low SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost) software-defined hydrophone for dual-use applications. This means undersea biodiversity protection and the prevention of shipping vessel strikes, all while enhancing port and harbor security. 


BLUEiQ is gearing up for upcoming pilots to deploy their smart OpenEar hydrophones with Sofar's Spotter buoy, enabling real-time NARW detection and localization along the U.S. Eastern Seabed. 

In the words of BLUEiQ, "We are NOT your Grandpa's PAM." They are “Aquapreneurs” and their innovation is about shaping the future of our oceans. With OpenEar, they're not just "listening" to the underwater world; they're leading the charge to save our oceans.


The Bristlemouth open standard will help innovative organizations such as BLUEiQ to rapidly scale their impact in safeguarding ocean biodiversity and redefining the future of underwater acoustic in marine conservation. BLUEiQ will be a speaker at BristleCon 2023 on November 9-10, 2023 in San Francisco, CA.