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)
If anyone would object, the likely environmental group would be the Sea Turtle supporters – Jellyfish is a favorite dietary staple of Sea Turtles. Where I live near Ft. Lauderdale, its common knowledge that ZipLoc bags littered into the water, are mistaken as Jellyfish by Sea Turtles and they wind up asphyxiating themselves. Accordingly, people –even non-environmental fanatics – are very sensitive to littering Ziplocs in particular!
When you have to explain your joke, it kills the humor.
And yes, ZigBee is short range, like Bluetooth; but very narrow bandwidth (small data), and very low power, so it can optimize battery life. This is a cool application for ZigBee; that is, if you support messing around with Mother Nature! (not that I like Jellyfish, but this seems like jelly-genocide.)
A while back we made some battery packs for TALON base units. That base can have a wide variety of attachments applied to it to make whatever... Since we didn't pressure test those packs for underwater use I'm guessing they are not on the beach comber shown in slide #9. I'll watch for hints of this use in any future builds of TALON packs now that I know about these.
And thanks for the photo Ann. We have a few TALON versions on the walls in the assembly area, and now we'll have the Beach Bum Harassment model too!
The jelly fish killers are interesting. I was in NE Australia in Nov 2012. It was eerie to be on a beautiful beach at mid-day and have no one in the water. Coming from Jersey where some of our beaches get pretty crowded I found myself feeling sad at the waste of miles of beach.
They have the deadly Box Jelly Fish to contend with. I read that they test the surf regularly to decide if the beach can be opened. A school of these could give real time data on stinger presence or absence, and grind up the little nasties at the same time.
But then again... some of the beaches were also closed because of CROCKS... Whole 'nother robot needed I suspect.
BTW... After printing that TALON picture I noticed it has what looks pretty much like a fishing rod pointing out the back. Pfft... But no beer.
The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. Design News will delve into this territory with next week's Continuing Education Class titled, “Introduction to Linux Device Drivers.”
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