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If British Scientists have their way, the waters around Europe may soon be swarming with schools of strange looking fish. However, before you rush to get your fishing rods, be warned, for these are no ordinary fish, but robo-fish, released to sniff out toxic water pollutants.
Built to resemble the commom Carp, the robotic fishes have built-in chemical sensors that seek out dangerous pollutants that may have dripped out of boats or underwater pipelines.
Each school will contain at least five fish. When one of them detects something, it will send a message about its location to the other members of the team, who will then converge and help take readings. Using technology, similar to your wireless internet (Wi-Fi), the robo-fish will then transmit the information back to shore, where the scientists will be able to determine if anything "fishy" is going on.
The 5ft. long fish, which swish their tails just like the real ones, are expected to travel at a speed of up to half a meter per second, have a battery life of 24 hours and cost $29,000 USD. Also, unlike previous versions of robo-fishes, these will not be controlled by remote controls, but will be intelligent enough to scan the waters on their own.
The first school of five fish will be released in ports next year to monitor emissions and leaks from large ships. If successful, additional fish will be released gradually over the next few years, each fitted with different sensors to seek out different pollutants.
Scientists are hoping this will give them a comprehensive picture of all the harmful substances that are present in the water, allowing for better clean up.
Sources: Dailymail.co.uk, reuters.co.uk