Our latest crop of nautical robots are a talented lot. They include a new and growing category of recreational, as well as professional, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). There's even an open-source version: build your own ROV from scratch or from a kit. Other robots designed to operate on or in water look like or emulate the movements of fish, turtles, or octopus. Some are designed to interact with living creatures or other robots.
Many typical nautical robots are underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs), or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Robots made to work in water are usually designed to be either remote-controlled or autonomous, and some can even switch from one mode to another. Some models can do a number of different types of tasks, depending on their payloads. One is a robotic boat. Another was designed for only one purpose: locating and eliminating jellyfish, which have become a dangerous and expensive pest in offshore waters around Korea.
Click on the Coralbot below to start the slideshow.
The Coralbot project underway at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland aims at designing an underwater robot that can rebuild the world's damaged coral reefs. Left on their own, coral reef regrowth and regeneration is a very slow process, partly because many pieces get scattered far apart. A swarm of Coralbots will find and collect pieces of living coral and bring them back together to speed regrowth efforts. This help is especially needed right after hurricanes or destructive fishing practices like bottom-trawling. Humans have done this in the past, but this takes time and there's a lot of acreage to cover. Marine biologists, computer scientists, and robotics engineers at the University's Ocean Systems Laboratory are now working on the Nessie 4 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), their latest prototype, which has passed some field tests in open water. (Source: Heriot-Watt University)
I consider the Hayward as randomly autonomous as a Roomba, which I think was classified as a Robot. One key difference is that it will not "back-up" when bumped in the front (a programmed decision for a robot) Instead, it just slowly turns to the right until it reorients itself into a clear path. The simplicity of its operation is admirable; Robot, or Not!
Jim, I'm pro-environment, but I've also studied biology, ecology and evolution. Speciation happens because environments change, so species are not all equal. Right now, to the jellyfish on the coasts of Korea, that means humans happened. Unless jelly-cide messes with the local ecosystem and has unexpected harmful results--as sometimes occurs from human interference--the genus overall doesn't have anything to worry about.
The in-pool cleaner I have is the Hayward Navigator; Using no power cord, its cleverly designed to use the suction power of the attached vacuum hose to mechanically convert the suction action into a walking action, using two offset cams like a bicycle pedal. The device walks around the pool constantly, as long as the pool pump and filter are on for the day.
The Coral Bot Nessie 4 shown in the first slide, just doesn't look like it would maintain a level buoyancy; It looks front-heavy, and apt to roll ,,, like the pitch and yaw would be very difficult to maintain. Was that model actually reduced to practice-? (image looks like a rendering)
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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