Platypus airboats have a Nexus S for a brain, we go eyes-on (video)

Here’s another extremely cool offshoot of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. Platypus LLC build autonomous robotic airboats that can be deployed for a wide range of usages including environmental data and monitoring hard-to-reach spots after natural disasters like flooding. The hull of the boat looks a good deal like a boogie board, built from polyurethane. On top, you’ll find a propulsion fan assembly, just behind a hard plastic electronics compartment that houses internals like the Arduino board. That microcontroller communicates via Bluetooth with a smartphone that sits in the front of of the boat, safely cocooned inside an Otterbox case.