Thursday, August 26, 2010

Swarms of Robots Could Clean Up Oil Spill in a Month...

So now the the Gulf oil leak is supposedly capped off and fixed... we can now focus our attention on cleaning up all that oil in the water....but HOW?
Leave it to the  minds at MIT to figure out this fun yet practical idea! The plan is to release a swarm of solar-powered robots called the Seaswarm. This group of 5,000 bots are able to operate autonomously, communicate via GPS/WiFi, they are cost effective and and could theoretically clean up the Gulf oil spill in one month's time...
Seaswarm, as they call it, basically works like a maxi pad. A patented hydrophobic nanofabric devours as much as 20 times its own weight in oil without collecting water. To capture the oil, the nanofabric's draped over a conveyor belt that's then dispatched on the surface of the ocean like "a rolling carpet," to quote Assaf Biderman, associate director of MIT's Senseable City Lab. The robot's entirely autonomous; it swims along, powered by a pair of solar panels. [...] Unlike traditional skimmers, which are moored to larger vessels and have to return to shore frequently for tune-ups, Seaswarms can work 24/7 for weeks on end.

via gizmodo

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