Solution

Our 3D printed robot platform provides makers and environmentalists with a tool for citizen science.

 

With this robot platform, citizen scientists can collect shoreline debris, gather environmental data, and go exploring — unlike current operations that rely on manual efforts using traditional tools.

 

For shoreline cleanup, the robot will traverse the shoreline in patterns, sweeping up debris and delivering it to a receptacle. The solution is intended to run in parallel with existing cleanup efforts, ensuring that the tiny trash is collected while the humans focus on more complex tasks.

 

Concept of Operations

In the below images you can see how the deployment of the robot would work. In the future, we would imagine operations such as these would occur on a shoreline once per season, with the operations done remotely.

 

solution_pt1

 

solution_pt2

Scaling via Distributed Manufacturing

 

This effort will scaled through distributed manufacturing. 90% of the robot structure is 3D printable. The remainder of the parts and components will come in a kit form. To achieve the scale of results we are looking for, we’ll need the help of Fab Labs, makerspaces, and schools around the world to replicate and use the robot. We always look forward to hearing from interested labs.

 

Social Impact

 

Robot Missions touches on several areas as a social impact:

  • Working across sectors – combining environmentalism and robotics
  • Hands-on STEM education for collaborators where their work is used for a real-world problem
  • Reducing pollution by collecting tiny trash, which is commonly overlooked
  • Enabling makers & environmentalists to collaborate – sharing and combining their skill-sets
  • Reducing fragmentation of the open source robot scene by having standards that everyone can develop their own modules off of and share them
  • Circular economy – old / broken robots can be recycled for filament used to make new ones

 

Effect on the Environment

 

During our testing, we observed that seagulls are not intimidated by the robot. This coexistence between technology and nature is crucial to the continued usage in the field.

One of our goals is to collect enough plastic (most likely from bottle caps) that we will be able to recycle it into filament using a Redetec machine. This would allow us to print a robot from plastic collected by another robot; and also print replacement pieces.

A further detailed look into the lifecycle assessment of the robot is necessary, and we are open to any collaborators who would be interested in doing so – get in touch