News From The Future-32

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NEWS FROM THE FUTURE – Robot Fish Scan For Pollution

One of the easiest ways to detect otherwise unseen underwater pollution in our lakes and oceans is to monitor the animal life. Sometimes subtle changes in fish population can signal a greater problem that demands immediate attention. Not content to let living creatures be our canaries in the coal mine, a British firm named BMT is heading a project to create robotic fish that will monitor water quality at a fraction of the cost of human divers. 

Called SHOAL fish, the aquatic robots are roughly the size of a large tuna, and are designed to move and act much like a living ocean fish. The SHOAL contain a litany of on-board censors that can detect chemical leakage and other man-made environmental hazards. One one of the robots finds something suspicious, it alerts port authorities who can quickly respond and — in theory — remove the source of the pollution.


  • bored_engineer

    Corrections: censors => sensors .
    We probably don’t want our pollution-sensing robotic overlords to censor themselves. (Perhaps they would censor any pollution produced by “parent” firm BMT.)

  • http://technologystemibs2012.wordpress.com STEM TECH 2012

    Reblogged this on STEM – ROBOTICS EDUCATION.

  • Bruce

    Don’t believe it, the Aquaphibians are invading, alert the World Aquanaut Security Patrol.

  • Timespike

    What happens when sharks start eating these?

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  • frank

    If they malfunction and sink then they become pollution too

    • http://www.facebook.com/darrin.rice.3 Darrin Rice

      You could look at it that way. Or you could consider that the entire assembly would simply be an inert, sealed mass at the bottom of the lake it “died” in emitting no more “pollution” than the rocks that surround it on the lake bottom; and you could also consider the mass of the “dead” robot fish as a small fraction in relation to the mass of fish crap and actual dead, decaying fish and plants immersed in the water of that same lake at any given moment; AND you could also consider that the “dead” robot fish would very likely incorporate some means by which it could be recovered from the murky depths, in most cases, such that your fear of it becoming a long-term foreign body stranded on a pristine, sandy lake bottom really is unfounded.

      Any which way you look at it, do attempt to consider perspectives other than those that feed fear; we’ve got quite a surplus of that, thanks.

      • frank

        Something with electronic test equipment and batteries is not inert. and even if sealed up real good will eventually leak and corrode and be exposed to the outside. . so that isn’t realistic that it doesnt matter if it sits on the bottom.
        Dead, dying plants and fish crap are part of the natural cycle of the planet earth and isn’t really a problem except when interfered with by man. Fertilizer run off, pollution, sewage etc.
        Having something recoverable is really the only way to go if this thing is going be in use. However there are some very deep lakes that would be extremely difficult to dive to recover or what have you. So that would have to be considered where it is used.

        Ok here is an idea for that. when the batteries go dead- it releases ballast weights and floats to the surface. It would need something like that because I can guarantee you . there will be the old “We lost the signal and don’t know where it is!” Guaranteed. absolutely guaranteed.

        Just because somebody invents something interesting does not mean that it is a great idea and ready for the world.

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