These Crocodile-Shaped Boats are Used to Study Hippopotamus Poop

 - May 27, 2014
References: senseplatypus & gizmag
Researchers at Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies are using autonomous crocodile-shaped boats to study the effects of hippopotamus dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River. The reason for using disguised boats is simple -- hippos are extremely aggressive animals that kill more people in Africa each year than any other animal.

The vacuum-formed plastic boats are 0.6 meter long and weigh 6 kg. They are equipped with Android processors that allow them to navigate the water autonomously, using sensors to analyze different water properties such as oxygen content and temperature. They even have sonar sensors that help them assess the depth of pools and to document the location of hippo poop.