Modern-Day Robofish School Humans on How to Detect Water Pollution

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Modern-Day Robofish School Humans on How to Detect Water Pollution

British scientists create life-like robotic fish that scour the depths of the ocean for pollutants
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 1:09pm

CONTENT: Blog

British scientists create life-like robotic fish that scour the depths of the ocean for pollutants

Many of us remember the 1987 science fiction film RoboCop, which is about a cop who is recreated as a human cyborg to fight crime in Detroit. Well it’s 2010, and instead of focusing on recreating humans, scientists will go deep into the murky depths of the ocean to recreate schools of robofish.

I’m not making this up, even if it does sound like the premise of a B-rated horror movie. Scientists from the University of Essex in Colchester, England have developed schools of robotic fish that look exactly like real fish. Except that real fish don’t have built-in GPS tracking systems and wi-fi sensors that detect areas of pollution in the water. These fish do, and they also feature fins and tails that are propelled by motors.

The robotic fish are being used to detect particular pollutants in the depths of the River Thames. Once they detect a pollutant, they send signals to other “members” of their school to come to the scene of action. The robofish take detailed reading of the area, and then they back signals to us humans. We in return create real time 3-D maps of pollutants in the water. We use this information to figure out how to rid the Thames of pollution.

Once again I ask your opinion on these robofish. Are they super cool science fiction gadgets that are going to rid our ocean of pollution, or should they be made bigger so that they don’t get eaten by bigger fish? That’s what I was thinking. What about you?

One commenter on the GoodCleanTech website said, “I believe that this is an incredible use of current technology. Why is it that there are those that think all technology somehow will scare you, idiots. To now be able to send several remote "fish" into a school and learn "whatever there is to learn" is fantastic.” Another commenter on Mail Online said, “There will be nowhere to hide, under water, under ground, even in outer space. Big brother is here, and sharpening his tool kit. Look up Darpa.gov and learn!”

I did look up Darpa.gov. It’s a research and development office for the US Department of Defense. Their mission is to “maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security.” So now I’m confused. Are robofish going to be used to detect pollutants in our water, or are they some sort of super secret military experiment?

I guess I’ll just have to wait and sea. I meant see.

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Keywords: 3D maps | British | Robotis | Scientist | fish | ocean | pollution

CONTENT: Blog

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