Congratulations to Arianna Ilvonen on winning Best UROP Poster Award at the annual MIT Mechanical Engineering Research Exhibition on March 10, 2023!

Arianna Ilvonen stands next to her research poster, and holds her winning poster certificate at the MIT Mechanical Engineering Research Exhibition.

Arianna (MechE ’24) developed and deployed an autonomous, cable-mounted coastal monitoring robot that can collect data even in turbulent environments. Arianna worked with fellow Mechanical Engineering student Olivia Velten-Lomelín, and MIT Sea Grant’s Education Administrator Andrew Bennett through MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Her research poster, Extended Deployment of a Cable Mounted Coastal Monitoring Robot, describes the complex coastal environments that support a multitude of biodiverse habitats in Massachusetts. These environments create complex conditions for any observation system to navigate, and autonomy and the need for long-term data further complicates this challenge.

To collect consistent, long-term data on the coasts, a collection system needs to be economical, reliable, non-invasive, and capable of surviving hostile, highly dynamic coastal environments. Our solution is a fully autonomous, cable-mounted mobile platform that will pull itself along a cable partially submerged along the coast.

Arianna and her collaborators deployed the coastal monitoring robot for a 7-day autonomous data collection deployment. The system now has an integrated wireless charging system and increased motor capacity, allowing it to move out of the water to recharge between missions.