British scientists have designed a robotic fish that detects contamination in water.
The fish, which is about 1.5 meters (1.6 yards) long, will be released in the port of Gijón in Asturias, Spain. If the project is successful and the fish detects contaminated waters, it will then be used in rivers, lakes and seas all over the world.
The robotic fish looks like a normal carp and swims like one, but is much more expensive. This roughly $29,000 fish swims at a speed of about one meter per second. It contains chemical sensors which aid in finding dangerous pollutants such as leakage from boats or underwater pipelines. If the fish finds traces of contamination, it then sends the information wirelessly back to the control center.
This fish lasts about eight hours before it swims itself to a charging hub to refresh.
“While using shoals of robotic fish for pollution detection in harbours might appear like something straight out of science fiction, there are very practical reasons for choosing this form. In using robotic fish we are building on a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution, which is incredibly energy efficient. This efficiency is something we need to ensure that our pollution detection sensors can navigate in the underwater environment for hours on end,” says Rory Doyle, senior research scientist at BMT Group.
The robots, designed and being built by professor Huosheng Hu and his team at the University of Essex, U.K., aren’t able to be caught in nets easily and will most likely not be mistaken for prey, since predators usually stay clear of fake fish.
Hu and his team plan to build five fish and hope to release them into the sea by the end of next year.
Source: BMT Group