Researchers at Britain's University of Essex and the BMT Group have developed robotic fish that will be released into the port of Gijon in northern Spain to monitor the water's quality. The fish are lifelike in appearance and equipped with tiny chemical sensors capable of detecting pollutants in the water.
BMT senior researcher Rory Doyle says there are very practical reasons for developing robots based on fish. "In using robotic fish we are building on a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution, which is incredibly energy efficient," Doyle says. "This efficiency is something we need to ensure that our pollution detection sensors can navigate in the underwater environment for hours on end." The robots are autonomous and run on batteries that are recharged when the robots automatically return to a charging station. University of Essex professor Huosheng Hu says the fish will be able to detect changes in the environment in the port, and identify the early signs of a pollutant spreading. Hu says the objective is for the fish to detect pollutants early to prevent leaks from getting worse. The robotic fish should be released into the port next year.
From Financial Times
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