Development of a mechatronics-based citizen science platform for aquatic environmental monitoring

Jeffrey Laut, Emiliano Henry, Oded Nov, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we present the design and proof of concept of a low-cost, self-sustained mobile surface vehicle for environmental monitoring. The vehicle is equipped with water quality sensors and cameras for image acquisition and two thrusters allowing it to maneuver. The device is part of a citizen science system wherein volunteers help in the environmental recovery of polluted bodies of water by performing online research and classification tasks. While aiding in environmental recovery, the users become more proficient in wildlife classification and water quality assessment. Telemetry collected by the vehicle is wirelessly uploaded to a web-based interface allowing volunteers to access images, positioning information, and water quality sensor data. The citizen science system allows for the study of social networking and human-computer interaction based on user activity. Specifically, the platform can be utilized to experiment with different interfaces and social interactions in hypothesis-driven research on human-computer interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6665185
Pages (from-to)1541-1551
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Citizen science
  • environmental monitoring
  • human-computer interactions
  • robotics
  • surface vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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