Robotic Fish May Be the Answer to Ocean Pollution


British scientists may have developed the solution to the growing ocean pollution dilemma. Engineering company BMT Group has created a lifelike robotic fish that will be tested in the sea off the coast of northern Spain near Gijon. Its purpose is to detect pollution in the ocean through its chemical sensors and navigation controls.

The robotic fish will detect ocean pollution through chemical sensors and navigation controls. Photo:

The robotic fish will detect ocean pollution through chemical sensors and navigation controls. Photo:

The coolest thing about this invention is that, unlike its former sibling experiments that required remote controls, the fish will be guided using Wi-Fi handlers. Its design mimics the body of a carp, but on a larger scale. Scientists compare its size to a seal, about 5-feet long. Each fish will have a price tag of about $29,000. (Check out the video below to see it in action)

In the past, scientists have worked with different robotic designs to detect pollution, such as a conventional submarine. Rory Doyle, senior research scientist at BMT Group, tells Reuters that the fish-shaped design was the best choice because nature has already proven it to be efficient.

“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.”

According to National Geographic, of the 200 billion pounds of plastic produced each years, an estimated 10 percent ends up in the ocean. In the U.S. alone, we generate 250 million tons of trash annually, and only 32.5 percent of that waste is recycled.

So where does a portion of our un-recycled waste end up? A 2006 United Nations report calculated that each square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic, having a severe effect on its ecological system.

If the testing of the robotic fish is successful, scientists hope to use the technology in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world. However, you can still do your part in keeping trash out of the ocean by recycling and reducing your waste.

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