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Exhibitions: ReefBot incorporates VideoRay Pro 4 ROV technology into educational exhibit

Posted on 07.02.2011 - 10:00 UTC in ROV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

ReefBot incorporates VideoRay Pro 4 ROV technology into educational exhibitReefBot is a Pittsburgh-based team of robotics engineers, aquarists and professionals that, in collaboration with the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, recently developed a unique children's aquarium exhibit featuring ROV and novel robotic technology at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The exhibit - ReefBot: An Underwater Adventure - has a dual role as (1) an interactive platform for educating the public about coral reef biodiversity and conservation and (2) a platform for developing underwater robotic technology for use in field research and exploration.

At the heart of the ReefBot exhibit is the tethered submersible CLEO (Children Learning through Exploration and Observation), which swims in the Aquarium's Open Oceans Habitat. CLEO is a custom version of the VideoRay Pro 4 ROV , modified to accommodate an on-board 1080P HD camera, and sporting a redesigned ReefBot shell. The CLEO ROV is unique in that it displays underwater streaming video in HD and utilizes smart camera fish recognition technology (developed by robotics grad students at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute) to actively learn the fish species in the Aquarium's Open Oceans Habitat.

The Reefbot Exhibit experience can be summarized as follows. Aquarium visitors control CLEO from an external control station using simple joysticks and buttons. They see what CLEO "sees" on a colorful panel display in front of them, or on one of the three large display screens mounted near the Open Oceans Habitat. Visitors can then take a picture of a fish they are following or are interested in, and match that fish with a photograph of the appropriate species to learn information about the species, as well as facts about coral reefs and worldwide reef conservation efforts. This interaction helps CLEO to actively ‘learn" the fish species in the Habitat.

The ReefBot Exhibit was launched in December of 2010 and is expected to remain at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for several years. Throughout this time, the ReefBot Exhibit will be used as a platform for the continuing development of smart camera technology as well as other robotic technology that will ultimately be used in the field to assist researchers and scientists as they explore and study coral reef habitats throughout the world. To that end, ReefBot is currently seeking partners and building relationships with various ocean research and conservation organizations.

For more information on the ReefBot Exhibit and ReefBot's mission, please contact:

Justine Kasznica
email: justine[at]

News release from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Press release from Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute

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