The water in Gijon Harbor in Northern Spain are about to get cleaner thanks to a group of robot fish.
European Scientists have moved the robot fish out of the testing lab and into the sea with the hopes of cleaning up some of the pollution in the water. The BBC reports that the artificial fish will be a mainstay of the harbor and will be able to give coastal official real-time monitoring of pollution.
Luke Speller, a senior scientist at the research division of BMT Group, 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 says that coastal officials typically take pollution readings once a month. That means that a ship may enter the harbor leaking oil and by the time it’s been detected the ship has moved on up the coast. The robot fish will be able to detect leaks much more quickly.
“A ship could come into the harbour, leak some chemicals somewhere, then it’s gone, all the way up the coastline. The idea is that we will use robot fish, which are in the harbor all of the time, and constantly checking for pollution.”
Ian Dukes from the University of Essex, said that the machine was designed to mimic real fish. Dukes said:
“Over millions of years, fish have evolved the ultimate hydrodynamic shape, and we have tried to mimic that in the robot. They swim just like fish; they are really quite agile and can change direction quickly, even in shallow water.”
Here’s a video of the robot fish swimming.
Reuters reports that the fish are about five feet long and currently cost about $31,000.