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Earth Robotics Hardware

MIT Unveils Oil-Skimming Robot Swarm Prototype 123

Posted by timothy
from the so-burning-harmless-eh dept.
destinyland writes "Today MIT reveals a swarm of autonomous floating robots that can digest an oil spill. The 16-foot robots drag a nanowire mesh that acts like a conveyor belt to soak up surface oil 'like paper towels soak up water,' absorbing 20 times its weight and then harmlessly 'digesting' the oil by burning it off. Powered by 21.5 square feet of solar panels, the 'Seaswarm' robots run on the power of a lightbulb, and with just 100 watts 'could potentially clean continuously for weeks' without human intervention, MIT announced. The swarm uses GPS data and communicates wirelessly to move as a coordinated group to 'corral, absorb and process' oil spills, and MIT researchers estimate that a fleet of 5,000 could clean up a gulf-sized spill within one month."
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MIT Unveils Oil-Skimming Robot Swarm Prototype

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ironnation (1888780) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:56PM (#33404942)
    SeaWow holds twenty times its weight in liquid, doesn't drip, doesn't make a mess, you burn it off. Made by MIT, you know MIT makes good stuff. Okay, here's some oil stains. Not only is that damage going to be on top, there's your plumes underneath, that's gonna get into your sand, see that. Now we're gonna do this in real time, look at this, it goes on a spill, I don't even have to control it, it just does the work. You following me, camera guy? It acts like a vacuum. SeaWow -- you'll be saying WOW every time. And if you call right now, cause you know we can't do this all day, you get 4999 more SeaWows, that'll clear up a spill in a month. Here's how to order!
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:01PM (#33404974)

    Let's see... they're tiny robots, they consume raw materials...

    Mark my words - pretty soon some bright lab jockey will come up with the idea of giving them the ability to build more of themselves using those raw materials. And we all know what'll happen next.

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