Robofish Detects Sea Pollution and Protects Real Marine Life, Is a Freaking Robot
By Elizabeth Fish
PCWorldMay 22, 2012 11:28 am PDT
The next time you go scuba diving in a coral reef somewhere while on vacation, make sure all those fish you’re swimming with are actually real. You may actually find yourself swimming with an intelligent robotic fish.
Researchers from the EU-funded SHOAL project (put on by BMT Group) are busy testing robotic fish that can detect and identify polluted water in a matter of seconds. The project took three years to fully develop, from AI and design aspects to chemical analysis and hydrodynamics. In other words, the robot has to look and act like a fish, not just transmit data.
In addition to locating and monitoring various toxins, the fish-bot can avoid objects, map where it is and where to go, and keep a fair distance from other fish, all thanks to an array of sensors on board.
The fish will also return to its base when it needs charging, take samples and work out their chemical composition, submit the findings to a base station, and then “inform” other robofish of the results. All the while, it makes sure that real fish don’t catch on that it’s a robot so they don’t feel threatened.
Pretty cool, right? SHOAL will now look at ways to put the robofish to work in the fight against ocean pollution and its sources. It’s a great project designed to help the environment and save the lives of marine creatures, too. To see the fish in action, watch the BBC’s on-site video.