Robofish to hunt down water pollution


British scientists have designed a robotic fish capable of detecting water pollution.

A shoal of the carp-shaped fish, equipped with sensors, will be released into the sea off Spain to track down the sources of pollution, such as leaks from vessels or chemicals in the water.

The 1.5 meter-long robots will then transmit their data through Wi-Fi technology when they dock to charge their batteries which last around eight hours. These life-like creatures have their own navigational abilities, meaning they can move without remote control.

Five of the robots, worth some $29,000 each, are being released into the Bay of Biscay at Gijon in northern Spain as part of a three-year joint project between BMT Group and researchers at Essex University in England.

Professor Huosheng Hu from the university said: “I am incredibly excited about this project. We are designing these fish very carefully to ensure that they will be able to detect changes in environmental conditions in the port and pick up on early signs of pollution spreading, for example by locating a small leak in a vessel.

“The hope is that this will prevent potentially hazardous discharges at sea, as the leak would undoubtedly get worse over time if not located.”

See how an early model of the robotic fish swims…

[Via Telegraph]