Meet the autonomous pollution detecting robotic fish via design boom
…released for testing in spain, the robotic fish created by the shoal commission swim and communicate together to monitor aquatic pollution above: an early, carp-shaped prototype of the robotic fish the shoal european research project has developed robotic fish that work together to monitor pollution in harbors and other aquatic areas. the bright yellow robots are undergoing their first in-vivo trials in the port of gijon, spain. traditional methods of monitoring pollution involve the collecting of water samples by human divers– generally about once a month– which are then tested in labs onshore. by contrast, using autonomous robots, data could be collected onsite and in realtime, offering quicker response in the event of pollution problems. the fish are each about 5 feet (1.5 meters long), about the size and shape of a tuna. their motion has also been modeled on that of real fish, relying on undulating motion instead of conventional propellers, and a dual-hinged tail to permits sharp turns. micro-electrode arrays can detect lead, copper, and other pollutants, in addition to water salinity and oxygen levels. battery-powered, the fish run for 8 hours on a single charge at a maximum speed of 1.1 yards (1 meter) per second, before being recovered by boat. safety features include a built-in airbag that inflates to make the fish surface in distress, with a GPS and cellphone chip built into the fin to send location details via text message. in addition, the fish communicate with one another, using low-frequency sound waves over a region of water up to about 11,000 square feet (1 kilometer square), to a depth of 98 feet (30 meters). in this way, a fish detecting pollution in one area can call upon the others to create a detailed map of high and low concentrations around it, helping authorities determine the source of the pollutant.