P18229: Robotic Otter


Project Summary Project Information

The purpose of this project is to create a device that can both walk on land and swim through water. The project is based off previous RIT projects, specifically the Robo-ant and Robo-fish. Essentially this project is meant to combine the two projects to create an amphibious robot otter.

Few amphibious robots today tend to have full integration between terrestrial and aquatic locomotion, as is the case with biological organisms capable of amphibious ambulation. Furthermore, these tend to lack agility and flexibility, and can thus not perform complex maneuvers while moving. One robot which does achieve pseudo-biological performance in this way is the “Pleurobot”, a research platform designed to mimic the physiological behavior of a salamander, however this only has planar freedom of motion while swimming.

The goal of this project is to design an amphibious robot which can mimic the movements of otters both in and out of water. The final product should be able to swim at the surface of water, walk on land, and transition between land and water. The expected result is a functional prototype with systems that can ultimately be used in other devices for military, investigation, and research purposes in the future.

Robotter CAD Model

Robotter CAD Model

Project Name
Robotic Otter
Project Number
Project Family
project family (if relevant)
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Russell Phelps
Primary Customer
Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Team Members

From Left to Right: Ethan Marsh, Vaughn Varma, Corry Straathof, Amanda Lundstedt, Tiffany Hsu, Curt Monkhouse

From Left to Right: Ethan Marsh, Vaughn Varma, Corry Straathof, Amanda Lundstedt, Tiffany Hsu, Curt Monkhouse

Member Major Role Contact
Amanda L. Lundstedt Mechanical Engineer Project Manager all6258@rit.edu
Ethan D. Marsh Mechanical Engineer Engineer edm8929@rit.edu
Tzu-Ting (Tiffany) Hsu Mechanical Engineer CAD/Customer POC txh7683@rit.edu
Corry Straathof Mechanical Engineer Engineer cjs8225@rit.edu
Curt Monkhouse Mechanical Engineer Purchasing Engineer cem6724@rit.edu
Vaughn Varma Mechanical Engineer Lead Engineer vxv9344@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Use this space to link to live/final documents throughout the project. Your team should customize this as-needed, with input from your guide and customer. The example below will address most of what most teams need to capture.

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination





Risk Management

Problem Management

Communication & Minutes

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams

Facility Layout



Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit