BMT Group has launched its intelligent SHOAL robot monitors, which aim to provide real-time information on pollution levels in bodies of water.
We’ve already seen environmental experts get help gathering data with the Creek Watch iPhone app, which enables citizens to monitor the health of their local watershed. Now a UK-based project has turned its concept of human-less monitoring into reality in the form of its fish-shaped automated SHOAL robots. BMT Group has been researching and testing the technology for the past few years and has now successfully launched its intelligent robot monitors, which aim to provide real-time information on pollution levels in bodies of water. According to the researchers, current methods involve sending samples back to the lab for testing, which takes time. The SHOAL robots are equipped with chemical sensors which can detect various forms of pollution and also interact with each other to provide a map of the problem and detect its source. Information is sent back to researchers via wifi. Fully automatic, the devices need no input from authorities in order to move around and return to a charging dock of their own accord when their batteries are low — much like modern vacuum cleaner robots. In order to avoid disturbing the environment they are monitoring, the robots are shaped like fish and also mimic the animals’ movements. BMT Group currently intends to build five of the 1.5-meter devices, at a cost of GBP 20,000 each. The SHOAL robots allow in-situ chemical analysis with minimal necessary input from human operators, making pollution research easier and more accurate. Governments around the world: one to get involved with?