May 22, 2012
Scientists Develop Robot Fish to Improve Pollution Monitoring
By Chad Love
Landing one of these babies is pretty much a catch-and-release-only proposition. I hear they're not good eating and extremely difficult to fillet. Not to mention the fact that they thrive in some pretty nasty water...
From this story on therepublic.com:
Robot "fish" developed by European scientists to improve pollution monitoring moved from the lab to the sea in a test at the northern Spanish port of Gijon on Tuesday. The developers hope the new technology, which reduces the time it takes to detect a pollutant from weeks to seconds, will sell to port authorities, water companies, aquariums and anyone with an interest in monitoring water quality...The fish, which are 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and currently cost 20,000 pounds ($31,600) each, are designed to swim like real fish and are fitted with sensors to pick up pollutants leaking from ships or undersea pipelines. They swim independently, co-ordinate with each other, and transmit their readings back to a shore station up to a kilometer away.
So, if they can make robot fish to do this, why can't they make one that chases down and takes a lure, then fights like whatever gamefish has been programmed into its brain? Say you've never caught a bluefin tuna and probably won't ever get the chance, because they're doomed -- instead, you could charter a trip to "catch" robot bluefin.
Who knows, maybe in a few years we might not even need real fish in the oceans anymore, what with their annoying and expensive requirements for clean water and a suitable environment. Now we can repeal all our water quality and anti-pollution laws and start cranking out loads of these suckers, 'cause they'll live anywhere...