This project lays the foundations for the analysis and design of peer production systems consisting of socially interacting volunteers and machines that jointly perform distributed tasks. The envisioned implementation targets the unique scientific and societal domain offered by cyber-enabled citizen science environmental control in the highly polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The proposed "Brooklyn Atlantis" citizen science system consists of an array of mobile instrumented buoys for water monitoring with wireless capabilities, controlled by volunteers using a web-based peer-production system.
Through the integration of dynamical systems theory, marine robotics, and technology-mediated social participation, the project will develop: 1) a model for complex systems comprising networks of humans and machines with a focus on technology-mediated social participation systems; 2) design guidelines for peer production systems to enhance participation in citizen science projects; and 3) a cyber-human infrastructure for real time monitoring and hazard detection of the natural environment combining mobile robotic sensor networks and human operated control systems.
The broader impacts of this project include: 1) establishing a technology-based avenue for enhancing local community citizenry and engagement; 2) developing citizen based environmental monitoring platforms that could provide life-saving advantages; 3) leveraging interactive robotics, environmental awareness, and citizen science to foster interest and engagement in STEM fields among the general public and K-12 students; 4) fostering multidisciplinary thinking among NYU-Poly students; 5) promoting the awareness of citizen science capabilities among researchers; and 6) integrating research components in outreach programs. This project has the potential of transforming the field of dynamical systems through the integration of collective human intelligence in the design and adaption of engineered architectures. Similarly, it may transform thinking on social peer production systems to incorporate real-time mobile interactive machines and task co-execution.