A robotic fish designed by UK scientists is the latest tool in the fight against water pollution. The robotic fish are designed to swim independently via wireless technology in seas, ocean, rivers and lakes to detect sources of pollution.
As part of a three-year research project funded by the European Commission and organized by BMT Group Ltd, an engineering and risk management consultancy, the carp-shaped robotic fish will be used to detect pollution in the port of Gijon in northern Spain.
Five of the robotic fish are currently being designed and built by Professor Huosheng Hu at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex.
Each robotic fish costs £20,000 to make and will measure 1.5 metres (1.6 yards) in length (roughly the size of a seal) and swim at a maximum speed of about one metre (1.1 yards) per second. The fish are expected to mimic the movements of real fish and will be equipped with small chemical sensors to locate potentially hazardous pollutants in the water.
The robotic fish are designed to transmit information to a central hub via wireless technology. The fish will also return to the hub to recharge their batteries. The transmitted information will enable authorities to map in real time the source and scale of the pollution.
Unlike previously designed robotic fish that work with remote controls, the WIFI fish will have autonomous navigation capabilities, allowing the robotic fish to swim independently without human interaction. The robotic pollution finding fish are expected to be in use by the end of next year.