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Robot Fish To Hunt Down Pollution

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the uncanny-trench dept.

Earth 55

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Financial Times, scientists are building a shoal of robot fish to be let loose in the port [of Gijon, Spain] to check on the quality of the water. The fish are equipped with tiny chemical sensors capable of detecting pollutants in the water. These let them home in on the sources of hazardous pollutants, such as leaks from vessels or undersea pipelines. Modeled on carp and costing about £20,000 ($29,000) each to make, the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants."

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55 comments

fish are prejudice? (-1, Troll)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272247)

Does this mean the whitefish would be angry if the robot looks like a black fish? Can't the fish just all get along?

the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

Hal Clement would be proud (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272249)

ob. SF reference, ``The Mechanic'' in the collection _Space Lash_ (also published as _Small Changes_)

William

MOD ME DOWN NIGGERS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272259)

coons darkies jigaboos niggers porchmonkeys eating watermelon and fried chicken yeah.

oh what the h-e-double-hockey-stick. this is also first post. frosty piss!

Re:MOD ME DOWN NIGGERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27273639)

What a shame...one fewer racial slur and you might not have FAILED IT.

Get the tartar sauce... (2, Funny)

Hoyty1 (1502645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272271)

First it will start with seemingly drunk fisherman "drowning". But what the papers won't tell you is that their heads were melted by lasers fired from the eyes of this new threat. It's time for a fish fry boys...

Re:Get the tartar sauce... (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272315)

I for one welcome our new aquatic overlords.

Re:Get the tartar sauce... (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272589)

I for one welcome our new chemically sensitive robotic aquatic overlords.

Re:Get the tartar sauce... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277033)

...our new chemically sensitive, lifelike appearing and swimming behavioral appropriate robotic aquatic overlords.

For near $30k each, they'd better school, shoal and spawn like real fish as well.

eBay (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272299)

More likely than not, they will end up on eBay.

Nathan

Re:eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277263)

or fish markets.

Metallic Chum (4, Insightful)

Jhyrryl (208418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272347)

"...the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they..." ...can get eaten by sharks? That's going to be a rude awakening.

Re:Metallic Chum (2, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272811)

the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

Whats more, what evidence do they have that swimming robots that do not look anything lifelike are alarming to any marine animals? Have they seen any really surprised fish swimming around? This seems like a completely unnecessary and really dumb feature (read bug) for such such a robot. It should be built to have maximum battery life, allowing for any swimming style that extends its range. I for one have never seen a fish in a state of "alarm" unless it was being hauled in on a fishing line. Even in this case, occasionally it was catch and release, so the sole reason for the activity was to cause the fish to go into a state of "alarm".

Re:Metallic Chum (1)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 5 years ago | (#27274029)

My guess would be that they are fibbing about their motives to make it look so "fishlike". If I wanted to send something into a location to "snoop" I would want it to blend in very well....

Re:Metallic Chum (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27276399)

... the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behavior so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

Don't count on it, at least until mating season.

Re:Metallic Sharks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27273785)

I'm sure they'll make $500k Metallic sharks too, which will 'recycle' the metallic fish. Afterall, we don't want the other fish to think it's unfair that metallic fish are not eaten - we'd hurt their feelings.

Re:Metallic Chum (1)

Sir Isaac1 (797524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27274085)

We are going to have sharks and other sea creatures turn up on the shore dead from intestinal blockage.

Re:Metallic Chum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27275705)

The fish have an electromagnetic signature that put off the sharks.

What happens when... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272367)

One of these things gets fished up?

What about predators?

This seems like a lot of money spent on things that are quite likely to meet unfortunate ends.

Re:What happens when... (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272851)

Apparently you've never seen the fish that sing when you push their buttons :)

Re:What happens when... (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 5 years ago | (#27277997)

Apparently you've never seen the fish that sing when you push their buttons :)

WHATS NEW PUSSYCAT?? WoooaaaWooooaaaaWoooooohhh!!

5..4..3..2..1.. (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27273897)

[what happens when] One of these things gets fished up?

An automatic self-destruct system takes over.

Have we already forgotten shoe-turtle? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272457)

> the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and
> swimming behavior

Take a clue from nature and make the thing neon orange and yellow, with bright green spikes. Flashing LEDs would also be nice.

When you have a $29,000 piece of equipment you don't want it to be abused by the locals.

Re:Have we already forgotten shoe-turtle? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272621)

Um, those bright colors are used to attract mates. I didn't see reproductive equipment installed in those robots.

Re:Have we already forgotten shoe-turtle? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272927)

I think he meant like a poisonous frog. The "stay the hell away from me" coloring...

Re:Have we already forgotten shoe-turtle? (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278003)

Um, those bright colors are used to attract mates. I didn't see reproductive equipment installed in those robots.

Well the rest of us weren't actually looking in that way :P

Re:Have we already forgotten shoe-turtle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27278117)

... Flashing LEDs would also be nice.

Not if these are to be used anywhere near Boston!

Pollutants (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27272763)

These things are meant to detect pollutants? Do they detect each other? They are clearly full of batteries. And, as pointed out by others, they probably look delicious to various sea life.

They're beautiful, but releasing them into the sea seems ill conceived.

-Peter

Re:Pollutants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27275455)

Why do you add a signature containing your name to the end of your post? That's what:
1. The username at the top of your post
2. The Signature block at the bottom
are for.

Next up: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27272877)

Robotic squirrels to inspect building codes and such.

Re:Next up: (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27273681)

I would expect robot squirrels which are sensitive to electrical currents or EMP would be more useful. Check cables which have been chewed upon by their organic equivalents or other mammalian relatives.

SeaNet turned sentient.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27273123)

..and decided our fate in a microsecond... extermination.

Alarming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27273465)

So as not to alarm the fellow marine habitats?

"Now, now, fellow marine creatures, there's no need to be alarmed, but there might be some dangerous chemicals about. Please don't panic." WTF?

If these robots are tracking in closer to the source of the pollution, and supposedly this pollution is hazardous, wouldn't it be better to scare the actual living creatures away?

"Yes, Jim, we could have saved these fish from toxic poisoning, but we didn't want to scare them."

Plus, have you ever thrown a rock into the middle of a school of fish? The get real scared and dart away and 3 seconds later they're back.

This whole aspect of the project is so freakin stupid, I'm surprised it was drawn up in another country, and not here in the USA.

and the price is not in Euro because ? (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27273503)

as far as I remember from my geography lessons, Spain uses the Euro as currency... why on Earth is the cost of these "fish" indicated only in British and US currency ?

Re:and the price is not in Euro because ? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#27275095)

The use of BP and USD is because it comes from the Financial Times a British site. Standard practice for most international British papers/websites is to list in BP because it is the local money, and the USD because that is the primary currency that is easy to compare worldwide.
Ever so often you will have an article that will have the local currency when the price in local currency is needed, but that is not often.

When the power source fails... (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27274019)

And they are sitting on the bottom of the ocean, who will look at the pollution that they create?

ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27274647)

This thing is a $29.000 Roomba minus the sucky-sucky bits.

Re:ROFL (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27276329)

I got a roomba for a family present at xmas. It gets stuck after 5 minutes on anything. Last week it managed to get one of its brushes wedged into a central air duct. I'd be surprised if these fish managed a day without all getting stuck under rocks or somesuch.

Luckily though, the roomba makes whimpering sounds when it's stuck to help you find it. It lets out a different toned whimper when the batteries are low. I don't think that would work so well underwater. Maybe it could activate a GPS signal and some alert code? The alerts can include:
I'm stuck under a rock.
I found pirate treasure!
I am out of the water!
I'm being digested!
I just tazed a fisherman! Then shattered his eardrum with a sonic pulse! Booyah!

ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27274881)

This thing is just a $29.000 roomba minus the suck-sucky bits.

More fun in the tub than Mr. Bubbles(tm)! (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27274931)

I want one of these for my bathtub!!

Tub Wars to commence:
First up, Rubber Ducky vs. RoboCarp

There can be only ONE!

*runs to get fishing net*

Misread Title (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27276029)

I just finished watching The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and misread the title as, "Robotic Fish to Hunt Down Population." I seem to be somewhat suggestible.

ITS NOWHERE NEAR APRIL 1st JACK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27277525)

and there is no mention of shark countermeasures!!!

A waste of money (1)

kprsa (1379613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27278841)

If you can make the robot that will cost twice less and look like a robot (not a fish), but hunt for pollution equally well, why not do it? The only answer in the text is "not to alarm their fellow marine inhabitants"... That is, IMHO, just a waste of money.
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