Swiss Researchers EPFL Developed a Robotic ‘Environbot’ That Finds Source of Contaminated Water!

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Yet another remarkable example of technology is being applied for preserving the environment and for human beings future survival.

An interesting technology solution to find sources of water pollution- the invisible, creeping threat!

Researchers from Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), together with other institutes, have developed a robotic eel that swims through contaminated water to find the source of the pollution.

The sensor-equipped robot can be controlled remotely or move on its own. In tests carried out in a small section of Lake Geneva, the robot was able to generate maps of water conductivity and temperature.

Images credit: EPFL
It autonomously swims around bodies of water and tests them for toxins and other factors. The robot slithers through the water like an eel, leaving mud and aquatic life undisturbed.

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The robot, named Envirobot, is equipped with chemical, physical and biological sensors and measures nearly 1.5 meters long. It moves through the water like an eel, without stirring up mud or disturbing aquatic life.

The head is the control center, housing the gear the robot needs to get around — camera, computer and so on. 

Envirobot contains conductivity and temperature sensors, miniaturized biological sensors that harbor bacteria, a small crustacean, or fish cells that respond to water toxicity in different ways.

The robot is made up of numerous modules that each contains a small electric motor for changing curvature, enabling it to move smoothly through the water.

It uses sensors to gather data from various locations, which it transmits to a remote computer in a near-instantaneous fashion.

Compared with conventional propeller-driven underwater robots, these are less likely to get stuck in algae or branches as they move around.

The Envirobot project, part of the Nano-Tera research program, is a joint initiative involving EPFL, the University of Lausanne, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG). (Source: EPFL)


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