There’s a new breed of fish in the harbour of Gijon, Spain, but this one is entirely man-made. It’s a robotic fish created by a British technology firm and a European university project, along with the folks at the Port of Gijon, and it’s whole purpose is to swim through the harbour and sniff out marine pollution.
The robotic fish, created by British BMT Group and the aptly-named SHOAL Project, are also miraculous at figuring out what kind of pollution they’re coming across. Where a human diver would have to collect water samples, which would then be sent to a lab for analysis, the SHOAL robotic fish has chemical sensors that can analyze what type of marine pollution is in the water within seconds.
These fish are also going to be amazing as a continuous way to test for marine pollution. Currently, human divers hit the waters hundreds of times a month, but can’t be in the water 24 hours a day. The SHOAL robotic fish can. And that will allow Gijon harbour authorities to immediately respond to marine pollution problems.
The job is done not by one sole fish, but by groups of robo-fish that are programmed to stay away from real fish so they don’t disturb the marine life. That’s also a way of getting data from several different fish at once, which makes pollution data collecting even more accurate.
The robotic fish can even see underwater using a sonar, dive like a real fish does, and return to the research base every 8 hours, so they can be recharged before heading back out again.
Science in action, and it’s all currently taking place in the blue waters of Gijon Harbour, Spain.