Open-Sourced Robot Fish is Cleaning Microplastics. An open-sourced robot fish can help reduce the amount of plastic pollution from water.
A functioning prototype of a robot fish that fishes out micro plastics from rivers has been created. After winning the Natural Robotics Contest, a public contest held by the University of Surrey, the idea was implemented. The public was encouraged to submit ideas for a bio-inspired robot that may benefit all.
The British University of Surrey’s Natural Robotics competition, which invited competitors to create a design for an animal-inspired robot that would help society and the environment, was won by an open-sourced robot fish named “Gilbert.” This robot fish is cleaning micro plastics in the UK lakes and could benefit the whole of the planet Earth. Nearly 100 entries were submitted for the university’s inaugural Natural Robotics Competition from individuals with an interest in robotics and nature who wanted to see their invention turned into a legitimate technical field. This robot fish can eat away all of the micro plastics in the waterways.
According to the University of Surrey, an international panel selected the fish robot design because it might help lessen the amount of plastic waste in our rivers. It harms the ecosystem for even thousands of years before it decomposes.
Eleanor Mackintosh, a University of Surrey chemistry student, created Gilbert, a robotic fish the size of a salmon. The “Gillbert” gadget has a watertight tail unit and a flooded head unit. The robotic fish filters the water and retains the micro plastics inside its container as it swims thanks to gills on its sides and a small mesh in between them that can sieve about two-millimeter particles. Gillbert has previously undergone testing in a lab and nearby lakes; it even lights at night.
Dr. Robert Siddell, a university lecturer, and the competition’s creator said, “We don’t know where the vast bulk of the plastic that gets thrown into our waterways ends up.” “We expect that this robotic fish will be the first step in locating and ultimately containing this plastic pollution issue.”
According to Siddall, the team plans to make several enhancements to the robot, to make it quicker, smarter, and capable of operating autonomously rather than through remote supervision.
It’s interesting that Gillbert’s design is available for free download from the contest website and is open-source. So, everyone with a 3D printer can make their microplastic-eating fish. The robot’s greatest contribution, though, is that it illustrates how academic and public resources may be used to access the top minds in Europe and realize creative ideas.
The robot moves through the water by flapping its tail, keeping its mouth open to catch water and micro plastics in an internal cavity. Water can travel through the tiny mesh linked to the gill racks, but the mesh also traps plastic debris.
The robotic fish will work alongside other pollution-fighting robots being developed at the University of Surrey, said Dr. Sydal. Gilbert has only been used in lakes and small streams up to this point, but with further design improvements, it might be a great solution to clean up microplastic contamination from the world’s rivers.
She remarked, “I attempted to build it such that it worked much as fish gills work. “The chamber inside the fish’s body is filled with water and particles while the mouth is open and the gills are closed. After that, the fish’s mouth closes, its gills open, and its cavity is squeezed to force water through a mesh filter and out of its body, where it will be captured by the fish.” But this wasn’t her first creation. Originally, Mackintosh said, she had a design in mind based on a plant, but she realized the Robo-fish could be expanded upon a bit more.
I thus choose to develop that idea instead,” she stated. There were only a few design revisions needed at that point for her to be content with the finished product.
After the winning design was selected, work on creating a functional robot started.
We took some time to talk about how we would create it before starting the design,’ Siddall added. The entire robot is 3D printed since we made it a rule for ourselves to only utilize materials and technology that were accessible to everyone.
But the path wasn’t simple. We went through a few prototypes, according to Siddall. “We destroyed all the electronics when the initial iteration of the fish leaked. In the end, the design and construction took around a month.
The robot was eventually constructed, tested, and it is hoped that the design will continue to be improved. Open-Sourced Robot Fish is Cleaning Microplastics for more robotics-related news and updates follow robotics India on Instagram and Facebook.