British scientists from the University of Essex have developed a robot fish which has the capability to be able to detect pollution in water.
Each of these fish has an associated cost of £20,000 and a shoal of five of them are shortly to be released into the Bay of Biscay.
Each fish is around 2 foot long and has various inbuilt sensors to be able to detect various types of chemicals in the water. They run on battery which has between 5 to 8 hours of battery life and due to built in artificial intelligence do not require to be controlled remotely. Instead they are able to swim around using their own navigational abilities whilst avoiding objects.
The robot fish took three years to develop and although robotic fish have been investigated for over 10 years the developers claim that this one is the smartest yet.
The developers also say that this is not a new design but a design which has been created by hundreds of millions of years of evolution and they hope that if this project is a success they can be used around the world to prevent the spread of pollution.
Moving forwards into the future they hope to increase the robots intelligence and implement features such an recharging stations where the fish will go and recharge itself when it starts to run low on battery.
Some of these robotic fish have been placed into aquariums with live fish at the London Aquarium and some visitors have not been able to tell that it is a robotic fish. A competition is being run by the London Aquarium for child visitors will be able to name the new aquarium inhabitants.
Who knows perhaps in the future these type of fish could be used on and around the coral reefs and provide data back to scientists to identify and reduce pollution threats.
Actually here’s another idea – how about a smaller one for aquarists to use to monitor the internal water parameters of the aquarium?
Below is a video of the fish in action – it is eerily natural, especially when it turns.