Robotic Eel Created to Fetch Sources of Water Pollution
Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in collaboration with those from other institutions have jointly created a modular robotic eel with an aim to swim through contaminated water pinpointing various sources of pollution.
This robotic eel was created to increase the speed and efficiency of measuring pollution in water bodies. The robot has modules equipped with different physical, chemical and biological sensors. The biological sensors include modified bacteria, fish cells, and live crustaceans. The modules of this robot can be customized to suit the location and other requirements. Some modules have been customized to test the conductivity and temperature of water with physical and chemical sensors.
A robotic eel created by scientists, had modules filled with bacteria, to generate light when exposed to mercury. Another had fish cells growing on electrodes that do not touch each other on the presence of toxins. Scientists also made use of Daphnia, a tiny crustacean, whose movements indicate toxicity of water.
The swimming machine collects all the data via its sensors and sends them to a remote computer. This robot works in a similar manner to that of an eel, unlike other robots with propellers that kick up mud disturbing the aquatic life. The machine can follow a preprogrammed path and also use the gathered information to track the source of pollution all by itself, swimming towards deep toxic waters.
So far, researchers have only been able to test the physical and chemical sensors, leaving the biological ones untapped. The biological sensors are harder to deploy, thus making them more challenging to test than the other sensors. The robotic eel shows potential in the water treatment process, considering its innovative and well planned design and functioning.
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