Robotic buoy to fight sea pollution


The good people at Osaka University has come up with a prototype of a robotic buoy that has a very specific and special purpose in life – it is meant to combat sea pollution in the event of large scale environmental disasters the world has known as oil spills. The prototype known as SOTAB (Spilled Oil Tracking Autonomous Buoy) is but a 110kg GPS-equipped robot. It will feature a cylindrical buoy length of 2.7m and a diameter of 27cm, and the whole idea is to have these buoys installed aboard oil tankers, enabling them to be dropped into the sea automatically whenever there is an accident. Unfortunately, oil tankers will have to be a whole lot more vigilant and careful for the next three years (at least) since it will take that amount of time at best to roll out from the laboratory.

Designed by Naomi Kato, professor of submersible robotic engineering at the Department of Naval Architecture at Osaka University, Japan, this buoy is said to “conduct education and research on underwater robotics, biomechanics on aquatic animals and its application to engineering, computational hydrodynamics of viscous flow fields.” Sounds like a whole lot of scientific gibberish, but basically translated into layman’s terms, the robot will be able to keep track of the oil slick whether by day or at night, as it features four very sensitive cameras that are able to look out for the black shadow cast by oil above it (the robot will remain submerged at about 10m), while maintaining this vigilance when the sun has gone down simply by turning on its lights. Data such as speed of the current, water temperature, wind direction and wind velocity along with the help of GPS enables the robot to let humans know just where the oil slick is heading.

Can’t they like, hurry up already? God knows the world needed something like this many years back.

Source: Primidi

3 reviews or comments

Valeriae Says: March 5, 2011 at 3:37 am

I think this is an incredibly good idea. This is just one of the steps to help us fix the pollution problem on earth. It may be expensive, but in the end I think it will well worth. Even though the fish does not hold a very long charge, it still has enough time to collect data about the pollution in the water. This fish will also able to find leaks in pipelines at the bottom of the ocean which will help save some of these innocent fish. This is also a positive because it is better for all of us humans as well. Soon there will be so much pollution in the water that we won’t be able to swim or enjoy some of the water activities, we all love doing. This fish is a great idea, and in the end it will help us greatly.

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