As reported in Reuters, a robotic “fish” that helps monitor pollution levels in the ocean is having its first sea-based test run in the Spanish port Gijon.
While the fish may look a bit like something from “Terminator” the technology isn’t nearly as frightening. If the fish works, it will detect specific types of pollution in seconds rather than weeks.
Currently, the fish are 5 feet long and cost around $31,600. In addition to being designed to swim like real fish, the entire body is outfitted with sensors that can detect pollutants leaking from ships or pipelines.
“Chemical sensors fitted to the fish permit real-time, in-situ analysis, rather than the current method of sample collection and dispatch to a shore based laboratory,” said Luke Speller, a scientist at BMT Group, the consultancy firm that led the project. Additionally, these fish are able to avoid obstacles, communicate with each other and know when to return to base when their eight-hour battery is low.
The development of the fish was partly funded by the EU and used technological expertise from institutions such as the University of Essex, University of Strathclyde, Ireland’s Tyndall National Institute and a division of Europe’s largest defense electronics group Thales.
The makers also say that they could make other types of robotic fish that could aid in oil spill clean up, underwater security, diver monitoring or search-and-rescue missio