CMU's Platypus team develops environmental robotics

Platypus LLC is developing affordable robots with for environmental testing.

Platypus LLC is developing affordable robots with for environmental testing. 

Come upon the Platypus team testing its technology in Schenley Park and it’s easy to dismiss the whining sound of a fan-powered boat for a group of university students playing with a remote-controlled toy.

You would be wrong.

Gliding across the olive-brown water of the pond below Carnegie Mellon University's Oakland campus is a Cooperative Robotic Watercraft, a fully automated environmental monitoring robot.

Weighing about 6.9 kilograms and modeled on an airboat, the CRW is the result of more than a year’s work by six research scientists at the CMU Robotics Institute. The boats are equipped with sensors that gather information — temperature, Ph levels, electrical conductivity (a surrogate for total dissolved solids), depth and dissolved oxygen — from the water and are controlled by an Android-based smartphone.

The team behind the project spun the research out of the university this summer and created Platypus LLC.

Read more in the Pittsburgh Business Journal.

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