MusselCare Robotics Poster

Tinna Grönfeldt
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Poster

Max Allen
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Poster

Alec Chang
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Mini-Monarch Nursery Video!

Melina Bertsekas
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Turtle power

Dean Brooks
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The Turtle Reflector is a shield made from folded graphene. It reflects light in every single direction so that the headlights of a vehicle will be reflected allowing the turtle to be seen and avoided. The shield will be put on the top of turtle’s shell when it is young and not fully developed. As the turtle grows, so will it’s shield. The Turtle Reflector is secure as well as expands and contracts easily. Humans are the greatest cause of their endangerment. The diamondback terrapin deserves and needs the help that we can provide. This project confronts the issues that are caused by animals becoming extinct. It will preserve the species and help the world by maintaining natural order and the food chain. This project is inspired by the ancient art form of origami. Rhino was used to make a pattern that etched each fold; which helped expedite the process of folding the material. When light hits the folded surface it reflects it in every single direction because the light is bouncing of every side of every fold. This project is unique because something as simple as origami can save an entire species. The turtle won’t be disturbed or bothered by the prosthetic because it is not in their range of sight, nor will it impede the turtle from rolling over to their feet after falling or being knocked on its back.

video

Max Allen
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MusselCare Robotics

Tinna Grönfeldt and Oliver Trejo
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Oliver's Brief:

The Dwarf Wedgemussel (Alasmidonta Heterodon) is an endangered small bivalve mussel that lives in freshwater rivers scattered throughout the northeastern United States. The mussels rely on one of 3 three species of fish to help them grow to maturity by carrying their eggs. The male mussel will launch its sperm downstream, to be caught by the female. After many months the female will hold the larvae [glochidia] in its gills. When the mussel feels a fish on top of it launches the glochidia onto the mussels face[explain the lifecycle here]. [explain here: One of these species is the mottled sculpin.] Since waterways have gotten blocked off and/or they have gotten heavily polluted, the fish have abandoned their old routes for cleaner and more easily traversable routes away from the mussels. This has caused an even greater decline in their populations in the past few decades. The MusselCare Robot provides a substitute for the fish, giving the mussels the final step in their maturing stage back. Our project uses tiny motors to propel a fake duck forward and to allow the model fish at the bottom to seem like it is swimming by the mussel habitats, hopefully picking up the larvae, also known as the glochidia. The mussel will launch its larvae into the river when it detects a fish swimming directly above it. The mussel deploys a fleshy lure, and when the fish swims above it and comes in contact with the lure the mussel shoots the glochidia onto the fish, where they attach to the scales using tiny hooks. The project uses sonar and servos to raise and lower a tiny model mottled sculpin that attempts to imitate its real-life counterpart as it is designed to be convincing enough that mussels will put their glochidia on it.

By working to save this species, the MusselCare Robot upholds biodiversity, which is necessary for balance in the ecosystem. It prevents other, potentially invasive, species from acquiring too strong a grasp on the environment. It raises interesting questions and hopefully provides an answer about how other species will react to imitations of life, and if whether they would shun them or believe in them. By finding an answer to this it could speak about nature overcoming the ‘uncanny valley’, the feeling of discomfort humans have when they see an eerily lifelike replica of a human being. This could show how animals react to different species and whether or not the mussel specifically has a similar ability to recognize specific species of fish. Biologists, both professional and amateur, can use the project to study the behavior of the Dwarf Wedgemussel and its ability to recognize different species of fish. Our project uses tiny motors to propel a fake duck forward and to allow the model fish at the bottom to seem like it is swimming by the mussel habitats, hopefully picking up the larvae, also known as the glochidia. The mussel will launch its larvae into the river when it detects a fish swimming directly above it. The mussel deploys a fleshy lure, and when the fish swims above it and comes in contact with the lure the mussel shoots the glochidia onto the fish, where they attach to the scales using tiny hooks. The project uses sonar and servos to raise and lower a tiny model mottled sculpin that attempts to imitate its real-life counterpart as it is designed to be convincing enough that mussels will put their glochidia on it. Once the user deploys it in the water upstream from the mussel population in late April or early May they let it be and at the end of July use the embedded GPS to find and retrieve the duck with the fish attached. Other than that it is completely autonomous.  

Tinna's Brief:

Pollution from industry and agriculture, and manmade structures, like dams, are endangering the Dwarf Wedgemussel by limiting the number of fish in the mussels' natural habitats. During the Dwarf Wedgemussels’ reproduction cycle the mussel relies on the fish to provide a safe environment for the mussel larvae to develop. The reproduction cycle of the Dwarf Wedge mussel is: the female mussels launch the mussel larvae on to fish and the mussel larvae attach to the fins or gills of that fish. As they develop they stay on the fish until they become juvenile mussels. At that point, they let go and fall to the bottom of the river and keep developing into adult mussels. With this in mind, the MusselCare Robot aims to help the mussels reproduce by providing an artificial substitute for the fish.

The MusselCare Robot has two parts: a) an artificial fish made out of silicone and b) a hollow wooden duck. All the mechanics are stored inside the duck, i.e., the motor that activates the webbed feet that propel the duck forward; the reel; and the line that attaches to the fish. A GPS device ensures that the duck doesn't get lost and a sonar that determines the length of the line to keep the fish at the right depth. All the mechanical parts are powered by a battery pack that is inside the duck. The objective of the MusselCare Robot is to make the Dwarf Wedgemussel no longer an endangered species, Because if the Dwarf Wedgemussel disappears it will have a rippling effect on the ecosystem and other species. For example, if the mussels go extinct algae will build up and lower the oxygen level in the water which could kill fish which would lead to food shortage which will affect us and other species.  This shows that it is important to maintain a balanced and diverse ecosystem and the first step is to protect all species no matter how big or small because we all serve an important role on this earth.

seed saver

Anara Magavi
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Mini Monarch Nursery

Melina Bertsekas and Maddie Johnson-Harwitz
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The Mini Monarch Nursery Maddie:

A small milkweed habitat that can be attached around a tree or pole in urban areas, to provide monarch caterpillars a place to form chrysalises and turn into butterflies before being released, while also providing a learning experience for an urban community.

The Mini Monarch Nursery is a small milkweed habitat that can be attached around a tree or pole in urban areas, to provide monarch caterpillars a place to form chrysalises and turn into butterflies before being released.The habitat consists of  a cylindrical attachment cut vertically in half so that it can be attached around a tree or pole using undergirding supports, internal columns, and straps. Inside, milkweed plants are growing in soil, and outside the cylinders are covered with mesh, to both protect the caterpillars and chrysalis and let outsiders observe what is happening inside. A latch can be opened to let developed butterflies out. It can be deployed around urban areas where this sort of ecosystem is lacking, and bring some nature and life into areas where there isn't much, as well as helping a threatened species. The small ecosystem can be transported and attached to light poles around cities and towns and provides a safe but visible space for monarchs. By creating a small protected ecosystem for them to grow and thrive in, the Mini Monarch Nursery addresses the current endangerment of monarch butterflies due to loss of habitat caused by farmers and illegal loggers cutting down the milkweed plant, as well as spraying the plant with dangerous pesticides. The milkweed plant is crucial to the life cycle of a monarch butterfly as not only do the monarch caterpillars need it as their food source, but milkweed leaves are the only place that monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. The Mini Monarch Nursery helps to increase their population by giving them a safe place to complete their life cycle, while also providing a learning experience for people in urban areas who can watch the monarchs turn into butterflies. It can be both a private initiative, or put in public spaces and taken care of by community members who want to help and learn about monarchs. This may inspire people in urban communities to become more involved in helping nature and preserving the beautiful wildlife of our world. The Mini Monarch Nursery can be placed along the monarch butterflies' migration route, allowing the newly hatched butterflies to migrate and increase the population.  

The Mini Monarch Nursery Melina:
Mini-Monarch Nursery
: A small urban milkweed habitat in which monarch butterflies can safely complete their life cycle before being released. This cylindrical habitat fixes around a pole in an urban space and provides the necessities for a monarch to mature: milkweed growing from it’s floor for the caterpillars to eat, a ceiling for the chrysalises to hang from, a door to release the butterflies, air holes, and a clear, protective shell.

Elementary school students gasp in awe as they watch a monarch butterfly hatch from it’s chrysalis; as they set it free, they have not only learned a great deal about the maturing of the monarch, but have also contributed to preventing this species’ extinction. As farmers and loggers illegally cut down wild milkweed plants and spray them with dangerous pesticides, they destroy the sole food source of the monarch caterpillar and the specific leaves on which the butterflies lay their eggs. This has critically impacted the population of the Monarch butterfly, causing mass die-offs during migration. This is a consequential issue that cannot wait, and the Mini-Monarch Nursery is the perfect creation and installment to face it - While also building an eco-friendly community in urban areas! This miniature ecosystem consists of an extended annulus protected by a clear mesh that attaches by hinges around a public light pole and holds dirt in which milkweed grows. The community members with the responsibility of preserving the habitat put Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed plants through the quarter door, and passerby are able to observe the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly up-close. The caterpillars inch up the walls and form chrysalises on the inner ceiling, and once the chrysalises have developed into butterflies, the Monarchs can be released. The Mini-Monarch Nursery can be placed in any urban location  along the migration path of the Monarch butterfly, to provide a protected home for the Monarch to be raised. Let your heart fly and save the Monarch butterflies with the Mini-Monarch Nursery!

Spoonji

Alec Chang and Amiyr Ahmad
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Alec Brief: Spoonji: A floating barge that utilizes sensors and GPS trackers in order to monitor the PH level of the water surrounding a sponge as well as tag its location on a digital mapping program. When the barge encounters a sponge, it releases a capsule containing PH level sensors and a radio transmitter. Then, the barge marks the location of the aforementioned sponge on Google maps. With the help of this tool, researchers can monitor the chemical content of the water near the sponge without gathering local samples. Spoonji brings an otherwise obscure species of freshwater sponge to the public’s eye, and it will provide a way for the citizens of Massachusetts to interact and care for the sponges. The main component of Spoonji is the floating barge that is powered by two, bottom mounted motors. The barge consists of a wood body along with two sealed PVC pipes for flotation.When instructed to do so, a servo controlled crane atop of the barge drops a capsule containing monitoring equipment and weights into the water. The equipment is contained in a PVC pipe capsule. There isn’t anything technically innovative about this project, it combines multiple pieces of existing technology into something original. For example, the barge by itself is not innovative, but by integrating a crane system with the barge a completely original product. This project encourages people to interact not with the project itself, but with the sponges that it is surveying. The Spooji is a medium in which ordinary citizens of Massachusetts can play a part in aiding a local species.

Amyir Brief: A small remote-controlled barge designed to monitor and protect the freshwater sponge, which helps filter pond water and eats bacteria.Gas emissions from cars, and oil and gas that run off roadways, all contribute to the pollution that raises the pH levels in small ponds  and threatens the freshwater sponge. The barge is a remote-controlled barge about the size of a duck,designed to scare away ducks, one of the sponges' main predators, and to monitor the sponge environment. An underwater camera attached to the barge will allow a user to find freshwater sponges and direct the barge to drop a small module with a pH level sensor and a GPS tracker Freshwater sponges filter bacteria from pond water. This project is helping the sponge by monitoring the pH levels around the sponge with minimal disturbance to the environment in order to make changes in the future. the importance of monitoring the pH levels is that we can find out what things are changing the pH levels and make changes in the future and to scare away the predators of the fresh water sponge. A RC barge users are no longer using big boats to drive through the water to find 3 or four sponge then test the water and drive away the boats  that would me used to find the sponge would be further polluting the water.