My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Technical University of Madrid and the University of Florence drone fish to patrol the seas

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Technical University of Madrid and the University of Florence drone fish to patrol the seas

Need to monitor the ocean waters? Try using a robotic drone shaped like a fish!

This certainly seems to be the thinking of the Technical University of Madrid and the University of Florence when they designed their robotic fish as noted in the article “This robotic fish patrols the ocean, gathering water quality info as it swims”, published May 16, 2017 By Luke Dormehl, Digitaltrends.

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Their proposal, published in Science Direct Journal is entitled “Bio-inspired fish robot based on chemical sensors”. The polycarbonate and latex robotic drone is designed with special pH sensors allowing the drone to detect areas of acidity or pollutant concentration.

It can even be programmed to sniff out certain chemical pollutants and like a bloodhound stay on that trail and swim in to take a better sampling. It can potentially even be use in aquaculture to maintain living conditions in the fish farm at optimal levels.

But why a fish shape for their design?

Fish Design for the robotic drone - Future Fish Behavioural studies on the horizon

Giovanna Marrazza, an associate professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biology who worked on the project, gives the answer simply; evolution knows best. The fish shape is well designed from swimming under water.

It ability to swim and follow chemicals and pollutants is possible thanks to a built-in electrochemical multi-sensor platform, quote: “We designed a bio-inspired fish robot that is able to swim according to the directives sent in form of chemical messengers. The concentration of hydrogen ions in the environment is detected by an electrochemical multi-sensor platform. The acquired signal is then transformed into an electronic signal to be used in robot electronics control.”

It also looks like a fish, allowing it to easily blend in with other fish and potentially be used to study fish behaviors up-close, something that has rarely ever been done. Alas, this is just a POC (Proof of concept), as Giovanna Marrazza is on the hunt for an investor to fund her project, quote: “It is necessary to continue the research, and we are looking for a source of funding or an entrepreneur who wants to invest in this exciting project”.

A truly inspiring story of how drones can be put to good use.


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