Robotic fish to detect pollution

LAST UPDATED: 16 Apr, 2009 @ 16:28
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Robotic fish to detect pollution

ROBOTIC fish are to be released into the sea for the first time to detect pollution.

The carp-shaped robots will be let loose in the port of Gijon in northern Spain as part of a three-year research project.

If successful, the team hopes that the fish will be used in rivers, lakes and seas to detect pollution.

The life-like creatures, which will mimic the undulating movement of real fish, will be equipped with tiny chemical sensors to find the source of potentially hazardous pollutants in the water, such as leaks from vessels in the port or underwater pipelines.

The fish will then transmit their data through Wi-Fi technology when they dock to charge their batteries which last around eight hours.

Professor Huosheng Hu

The fish are being built by Professor Huosheng Hu, at a cost of around 20,000 euros to make, and are roughly the size of a seal. They swim around one metre per second. Prof Hu 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 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.”

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