The researchers from Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) produced a robotic snake through contaminated water to find the source of pollution. It is 1.5 meters long and is made of individual modules that each has an electric motor, what changes the robot’s curvature, enabling it smoothly swim through the water. Envirobot can be controlled remotely or swim on its own. Some of these modules contain sensors to measure conductivity and temperature. Others modules contain chambers designed to fill up with water, that house bacteria, small crustaceans and fish cells, which work as biological sensors. How these organisms respond to the water, the operators gets what kind of pollutants and toxicity are there. A developed bacteria generates light when exposed to very low concentrations of mercury. Other biological sensors involves use of Daphnia, a tiny crustaceans less than 5 mm whose movement is affected by water toxicity.
This envirobot was trialed in Lake Geneva, where to test its ability to track changes in water conductivity. It was done by pumping salt into a specific area close to the shore and letting robot swim free, where it successfully mapped the variations in conductivity resulting from the salt and created a temperature map of the area. You can hear see Envirobot in action in the video below.
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