Robot explores Gowanus Canal, seeks collaborators

Photo: NY Times

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The miniaturized exploration of New York waterways continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays in coming weeks, courtesy of Brooklyn Atlantis, a new research project from NYU Poly. Following last month’s model boat excursion on Newtown Creek, which was created by a group of artists, the Brooklyn Atlantis team is deploying a much more serious research vehicle in the Gowanus Canal. The science team asks the public to help tag images from the device as it roams above and below the waves. If you’d like to participate remotely in this research project, you can create an account at the Brooklyn Atlantis website.

As explained in the NY Times, “Anyone can tag photos and track patterns in the environmental conditions, and those who contribute frequently and accurately can graduate to greater responsibilities…Particularly avid users will eventually be able to control their own robot.”

And as described on the project website: “What should you be tagging? Any recognizable object! Whether it’s a tree, fish, or soda can, its fair game, so don’t hold back! By helping us tag the images from our ARV we can study and observe the canal and its wildlife right from home.” In this way, the cause of science can capture some of the time you might otherwise spend on Facebook or Pinterest.

Below is a sample shot from the rover. The project crowdsources the analysis of the images; once you’ve logged in to the site, and move your cursor over the window, boxes appear that allow you to tag features in the scene.

Top photo: NY Times