Robotic fish – on a hunting spree for sea pollutants

A new robotic technology was unveiled by a team of developers in the form of robotic fish that will help in detecting the pollution in the seas and oceans thereby reducing the detection time from weeks to just a few seconds. The robotic fish is developed by the European scientists in a laboratory and a final test was conducted in the sea at the northern Spanish port of Gijon.

This invention is hoped to make waves in the field of marine biology and oceanography and in reducing the impact of sea pollutants over a period of time. The robotic fish will also prove to be a boon for underwater security, cleaning up of oil spills, and search cum rescue operations in seas, oceans and also monitoring of various activities concerned with marine life.

This robotic fish measures 5 feet long (1.5 meters) and the current price tag is fixed at $31,600 or £ 20,000 each. This robotic fish swims like a real fish and are fitted with electronic and chemical sensors in order to detect underwater pollutants that are leaking from undersea pipelines or ships. These robotic fish can work as a team with good coordination by transmitting their readings back to the shore stations that are located one kilometer away.

The chemical sensors fitted to these robotic fish will help the scientists in conducting real time and unmoved or in situ analysis of the sea instead of the current process of sample collection and dispatching the samples to the shore based laboratory. This is indeed a remarkable achievement in the field of marine technology. These robotic fish are capable of maneuvering themselves from obstacles and can also communicate with each other.

Due to the sensors fitted in these robotic fish, they can easily map out their direction and are able to return to their base in case their eight hour battery life runs out low. The robotic fish development project was funded by the European Union with experts drawn from the University of Strathclyde in Britain, Thales Safare – a unit of Europe’s largest defense electronics group and Ireland’s – Tyndall National Institute and Thales- which was responsible for providing communication technology. The team will also make any modifications if necessary to start commercial production of these robotic fish. The probable buyers of this robotic fish include port authorities, aquariums, marine biologists, water companies etc.

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