There is no denying the value of robots. They have not only helped us perform difficult tasks like surgery — they have also assisted in data gathering and analysis. This swimming robot developed in Switzerland can detect water pollution and wirelessly send out information in real time.
The robotic eel is outfitted with sensors that make it able to test the water for changes in conductivity and temperature as well as signs of toxins. The robot is made of several modules, each containing a small electric motor and different sensors. The modular design allows researchers to add or take from its length and change the robot’s make up as needed for each task.
Not only are these robotic “eels” more efficient than manual measurement stations — they don’t disturb a lake’s inhabitants. They are also advanced enough to calculate biological changes. Bacteria in these sensors easily recognize toxins.
For instance, the bacteria will luminesce when exposed to even very low concentrations of mercury. Luminometers measure the light given off by the bacteria and that information is transmitted to a central hub for analysis.
As taken from its namesake, the robot can slither towards the polluting source in any body of water. While they are human creations, it seems about time to give robots some credit!