Meet robofish, the marine machine set to clean up polluted waters

meet robofish the marine machine set to clean up polluted watersWhenever an oil tanker is torn apart in a storm, the resulting carnage hits the headlines around the world. What we hear little about, however, is low-level pollution, where ships or factories close to the water leak fuel and other substances on a smaller scale. Of course, the cumulative effect of such pollution can also be extremely damaging to the environment.

This problem prompted Shoal, a European Commission-funded consortium, to begin developing a robotic fish that can search the water in which it swims for contamination. Shoal’s creation has just begun tests in a port in northern Spain in the hope that it will one day provide fast and accurate data about water quality and the location of any hazardous liquids or materials lurking under the waves.

Speaking to the BBC about the $31,000 (£20,000) robofish, Luke Speller, a senior scientist at the research division of BMT Group, a technology consultancy which is part of the consortium, said: “The idea is that we want to have real-time monitoring of pollution, so that if someone is dumping chemicals or something is leaking, we can get to it straight away, find out what is causing the problem and put a stop to it.”

Speller explained that currently, harbor authorities usually take water samples around once a month.

“In that time, a ship could come into the harbour, leak some chemicals somewhere, then it’s gone, all the way up the coastline,” he said. “The idea is that we will use robot fish, which are in the harbour all of the time, and constantly checking for pollution.”

The  robofish is 150 cm in length and made from carbon fiber and metal, and, with its fins and streamlined shape, looks and moves through the water like a real fish. While this means it will be able to handle waters strewn with debris better than a device equipped with propellers, hopefully it won’t result in real underwater creatures attacking it.

Fitted with an array of sensors, the robofish detects contaminants such as lead and copper as water passes through its body. It can also provide other data such as the water’s oxygen level. One of the special features of the device is that it can work autonomously, sending information back to on-shore monitoring equipment.

Speller hopes that the robofish will be commercialized in the next few years, helping environmental agencies around the world to better police their waters and cut down on pollution.

[Source: BBC, Reuters]

Product Review

These AirPod look-alikes are better in every way but one

With silicone eartips, water resistance, and a more palatable price tag, Mobvoi’s Ticpods Free are impressive AirPod doppelgangers. But for all the great things they have going for them, there’s one flaw holding them back.

Tips for surviving the nuclear wasteland in 'Fallout 76'

Before running into nuclear wasteland with your Pip-Boy, take a moment to consider these Fallout 76 tips. From food and water to maintaining weapons and armor, here are the things all beginners should know.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Emerging Tech

China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation claims that it has developed a quantum radar that's able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Warm up or cool down with the press of a button on the wrist-worn Embr

We review the Embr Wave, a personal heating and cooling wearable designed by a team of MIT engineers that’s now on Kickstarter. Our thoughts? It’s a little bit addictive.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting nearby star

Astronomers have discovered a large planet circling a sun nearby to Earth called Barnard's Star. The potential new planet is thought to be cold and icy and has a size of around 3.2 times the Earth.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.