Robo-Fish Ready to Get their Feet Wet... err, I should rather say, Fins (video)

Those who loved the splendid animatronics accomplished with the ancient Jaws films, will certainly appreciate the work that has gone into the carp-shaped robot that will soon be released the the Seas of Northern Spain. These five prototype fish will be the first of what researcher hope to be many to come...Such Big Hope For Five Little Fishies
These five robo-fish have been designed to collect information of the pollutants in the ocean waters. Each five foot long robot is fitted with a chemical sensor, which will be able to search out any or all dangerous chemical leaks coming from vessels, pipelines, or even illegal dumping. It will then transmit this information back to the team via Wi-Fi technology.

The hope is that if the trial run is successful, they can release an entire line of these fish into our lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans, in order to give scientists an upper hand in tracking pollution levels and sources. These robo-fish will provide a much more detailed reading of problems, than the old methods of taking spot readings, or investigating the health of native fish in the various waters that are currently under suspicion.

These fish operate completely under their own accord, without necessity of human interaction. In other words, they have been cleverly programed to act just like real fish and operate under a set of guidelines which have been pre-programmed into their systems. They run on long-life batteries (similar to those found in electric vehicles), so their their upkeep should be fairly minimal, assuming the robots themselves won't have the reliability of a 1972 Ford Pinto.

Are the Awesome Animatronics Really Necessary?
We've talked about robo-fish collecting ocean pollution readings before, but this thing is just plain flat amazing! Watching this fish swim in the video, could easily fool me into thinking it was a real fish. This is great, but I wonder if a little too great.

The scientists were questioned why they made the design so incredibly lifelike, and they responded that they were in fact taking advantage of "a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution which is incredibly energy efficient." While these robo-fish will obviously fit-in well with other fish, aren't they worried about them getting caught by a commercial fishing boat or getting attacked by another species?

The steep $29,000 price tag could be drastically reduced by a much simpler design, albeit less impressive in video. Seems like these scientists were perhaps a little too detailed in the creation of the fish in my opinion. I can see if they were designed to fit in with the other fish and collect information on their habits and life cycles, but they are reading pollution and chemical levels for crying out loud. What is your opinion of the design and function?

Source:
Reuters- UK team builds robot fish to detect pollution
More on ocean pollution
Keep Your Junk out of the Pacific Ocean Trash Vortex
How You Can Eliminate a Floating Trash Mass Twice the Size of Texas!
Ocean Conservancy Reveals World's Only Snapshot of Marine Trash

Tags: Fish | Gadgets | Oceans | Pollution

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