Human-assisted robotic sampling of aquatic microorganisms

Major Goals and Objectives

Robots as mobile sensors can monitor large areas repeatedly. An effective robotic solution should benefit from human knowledge and experience as well as integrates an established sampling strategy. This project envisions a human-assisted robotic solution for sampling spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus), an invasive microorganism notorious for its ecological and economic harm in the Great Lakes. The project outcomes include extensive field testing of the device, a design upgrade based on test results, and the design of a robotic boat that can utilize the device to sample water flea in nearshore regions at depths of up to 25 m. Results from this work will set the stage for large-scale monitoring projects where robots that can be used by selectively and consistently monitor complex ecosystems.


Accomplishments / Benefits

Story: Automated sampling equipment may aid in tracking microscopic aquatic invasive species

Video: Human-assisted robotic sampling of aquatic microorganisms

Research Information

Principal Investigator:
Sachit Butail
Initiation Date:
Northern Illinois University


Sachit Butail
Assistant Professor
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