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Earth Robotics

Robot Fish To Hunt Down Pollution 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the uncanny-trench dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Financial Times, scientists are building a shoal of robot fish to be let loose in the port [of Gijon, Spain] to check on the quality of the water. The fish are equipped with tiny chemical sensors capable of detecting pollutants in the water. These let them home in on the sources of hazardous pollutants, such as leaks from vessels or undersea pipelines. Modeled on carp and costing about £20,000 ($29,000) each to make, the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants."

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Robot Fish To Hunt Down Pollution

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  • ob. SF reference, ``The Mechanic'' in the collection _Space Lash_ (also published as _Small Changes_)

    William

  • First it will start with seemingly drunk fisherman "drowning". But what the papers won't tell you is that their heads were melted by lasers fired from the eyes of this new threat. It's time for a fish fry boys...
    • I for one welcome our new aquatic overlords.
      • by GaryOlson (737642)
        I for one welcome our new chemically sensitive robotic aquatic overlords.
        • by djupedal (584558)

          ...our new chemically sensitive, lifelike appearing and swimming behavioral appropriate robotic aquatic overlords.

          For near $30k each, they'd better school, shoal and spawn like real fish as well.

  • eBay (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    More likely than not, they will end up on eBay.

    Nathan

  • Metallic Chum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jhyrryl (208418) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:16PM (#27272347)

    "...the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they..." ...can get eaten by sharks? That's going to be a rude awakening.

    • by olddotter (638430)
      Exactly what I was thinking. Wonder how many of them survive a week without being eaten by larger fish.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gat0r30y (957941)

      the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

      Whats more, what evidence do they have that swimming robots that do not look anything lifelike are alarming to any marine animals? Have they seen any really surprised fish swimming around? This seems like a completely unnecessary and really dumb feature (read bug) for such such a robot. It should be built to have maximum battery life, allowing for any swimming style that extends its range. I for one have never seen a fish in a state of "alarm" unless it was being hauled in on a fishing line. Even in

      • My guess would be that they are fibbing about their motives to make it look so "fishlike". If I wanted to send something into a location to "snoop" I would want it to blend in very well....
      • by FauxReal (653820)
        I wonder if there's an Uncanny Valley [wikipedia.org] in the ocean as well.
      • ... the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

        Don't count on it, at least until mating season.

    • We are going to have sharks and other sea creatures turn up on the shore dead from intestinal blockage.
    • by EkriirkE (1075937)
      So, in effect, the anti-pollution robofish are pollution themselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    One of these things gets fished up?

    What about predators?

    This seems like a lot of money spent on things that are quite likely to meet unfortunate ends.

  • at $30k a fish, time to go fishing I'd say...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and
    > swimming behavior

    Take a clue from nature and make the thing neon orange and yellow, with bright green spikes. Flashing LEDs would also be nice.

    When you have a $29,000 piece of equipment you don't want it to be abused by the locals.

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      Um, those bright colors are used to attract mates. I didn't see reproductive equipment installed in those robots.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think he meant like a poisonous frog. The "stay the hell away from me" coloring...

      • by DavoMan (759653)

        Um, those bright colors are used to attract mates. I didn't see reproductive equipment installed in those robots.

        Well the rest of us weren't actually looking in that way :P

  • Oblig. (Score:2, Funny)

    by BigBlueOx (1201587)
    I, for one, welcome our suddenly-wealthy Spanish fisherman overlords.
  • These things are meant to detect pollutants? Do they detect each other? They are clearly full of batteries. And, as pointed out by others, they probably look delicious to various sea life.

    They're beautiful, but releasing them into the sea seems ill conceived.

    -Peter

  • Get rid of the pollution, with a Fibonacci chimney no less! How geeky is that?! Almost on par with robot fish. :)

    http://hyperstring.blogspot.com/2006/09/fibonacci-chimney.html#links [blogspot.com]

  • Next up: (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Robotic squirrels to inspect building codes and such.

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      I would expect robot squirrels which are sensitive to electrical currents or EMP would be more useful. Check cables which have been chewed upon by their organic equivalents or other mammalian relatives.
  • Not alarmed? Don't these fish know anything about the uncanny valley [wikipedia.org]?
  • as far as I remember from my geography lessons, Spain uses the Euro as currency... why on Earth is the cost of these "fish" indicated only in British and US currency ?
    • by will_die (586523)
      The use of BP and USD is because it comes from the Financial Times a British site. Standard practice for most international British papers/websites is to list in BP because it is the local money, and the USD because that is the primary currency that is easy to compare worldwide.
      Ever so often you will have an article that will have the local currency when the price in local currency is needed, but that is not often.
  • ...used to clean up hydrocarbons.

    Please.

  • And they are sitting on the bottom of the ocean, who will look at the pollution that they create?
  • Did anyone else immediately think of Flotsam [thefishknowthesecret.com] by David Wiesner?

  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday March 20, 2009 @05:34PM (#27274931) Journal

    I want one of these for my bathtub!!

    Tub Wars to commence:
    First up, Rubber Ducky vs. RoboCarp

    There can be only ONE!

    *runs to get fishing net*

  • I just finished watching The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and misread the title as, "Robotic Fish to Hunt Down Population." I seem to be somewhat suggestible.

  • Hopefully no other fishes will want to try their taste. That could be an expensive fish meal!
  • If you can make the robot that will cost twice less and look like a robot (not a fish), but hunt for pollution equally well, why not do it? The only answer in the text is "not to alarm their fellow marine inhabitants"... That is, IMHO, just a waste of money.
  • "robot fish to hunt down politician".

    Reality is disappointingly less surreal.

"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk

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