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Robotic Fish to Monitor Pollution

Robotic Fish to Monitor Pollution

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 - 07:15
A soft robot designed in the form of a salamander is displayed in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

To monitor the levels of antibiotics in the water, among other pollutants, researchers from the United States have created a new robotic fish that swim through streams and lakes.

The prototype will soon be sent below the surface of the lakes near Michigan, which are under threat from industrial pollution and contaminants from farming, according to the German news agency (DPA).

The New Scientist website reported Alicia Douglas at the Water Rising Institute saying: “The water is getting increasingly contaminated with multiple pollutants,” and noting that antibiotics are among them are becoming a growing risk because we know so little about how they spread.

Xiaobo Tan at Michigan State University said: “The idea is to put sensors on the robots so that you can gather data from different locations in an automated manner,” and explained that understanding the antibiotic levels in different parts of the lake, it should be easier to work out where they are coming from.

Robofish aren’t the only robots monitoring pollutants around the world. A robotic orca is tracking pollution in a reservoir in Tibet, and an artificial swan is doing the same in Singapore’s Pandan Reservoir.

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