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Imaps — A Multidisciplinary Aquatic Robot Project

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Measurements: Innovative Course Development

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.823.1 - 12.823.12



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Paper Authors

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Hong Zhang Rowan University

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Ying Tang Rowan University

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Courtney Richmond Rowan University

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Patricia Mosto Rowan University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

IMAPS —A Multidisciplinary Aquatic Robot Project


Multidisciplinary skills and the willing and ability to apply engineering skills to non-engineering problems are always desired by industry and critical to the success of our students. Starting from 2005, a Rowan student team from Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biology Science worked together to develop an aquatic robot under the guidance of faculties from these departments. In this multidisciplinary project, the students designed and built an easy-to-use yet versatile surface robot that can autonomously cruise on the surface of water and take underwater data in real time. In less than two years, the robot has evolved from a proof-of-concept prototype to a functioning robot that can autonomously pilot itself and test water quality as deep as 30m. Extensive field tests have been performed at various locations with different water qualities and weather conditions. Currently, the multidisciplinary group is gearing up to develop a third generation amphibious robot that can launch itself and return to the land. This robot, also called IMAPS2, will also be applied to the biological or environmental research on difficult areas such as marshes.

I. Introduction

The ability to apply multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary concepts in real-world engineering problems is critical for the future growth of students. To promote this ability is therefore important for any engineering program. Starting from 2005, the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biological Science of Rowan University started a multi-disciplinary project to build an aquatic robot for shallow water study and surveillance.

Ecological and biological studies of aquatic habitats, especially those in shallow-water, are often hindered by difficulties of accessing remote sites or the cost of collecting high resolution data in space and time. For example, manual sampling by workers in the field [14] offers limited sampling stations and numbers of observations. It is also sensitive to environmental and logistical conditions such as season, weather, terrain and access. In contrast, fixed sensors such as distributed sensors [12] or buoy stations [9] allow continuous monitoring of a specific location. However, their long term deployment can physically alter the environment and the cost of this option multiplies quickly with the number of stations. On the other hand, mobile sensor platforms such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) [1] and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) [10] are capable of dynamic remote data collection. However, these vehicles are often designed for use in the deep environs of the open ocean. Their cost, size, and limited agility are not suitable for work in other aquatic habitats (e.g., shallow water).

Aware of these needs, the faculty of Engineering School and School of Art and Science proposed the development of a robust, cost-effective and flexible solution to continuously collect data from a water body interactively and in real time. Beginning in Spring 2005, we started design, build, test and apply a robotic aqua sensor, called the Interactive

Zhang, H., & Tang, Y., & Richmond, C., & Mosto, P. (2007, June), Imaps — A Multidisciplinary Aquatic Robot Project Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2377

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