Tag Archives: submarines

Biomimetic robot carp scare the bejeezus out of me

copy-of-robot-fishI saw these robotic carp on the cover of today’s FT. Aside from looking scarily like the “Terror Fish” transport vessals of the Stingray villains the Aquaphibians this functional model looks splendid. Fortunately these fish will be using their powers for good, not evil:

Modelled on carp and costing about £20,000 ($29,000) each to make, the fish are to be lifelike in appearance and swimming behaviour so they will not alarm their fellow marine inhabitants.

The robots, the first of their kind, are equipped with tiny chemical sensors capable of detecting pollutants in the water. These let the fish home in on the sources of hazardous pollutants, such as leaks from vessels or undersea pipelines.

“Using shoals of robotic fish for pollution detection in harbours might appear like something straight out of science fiction [but] there are very practical reasons for choosing this form,” said Rory Doyle, senior research scientist at BMT Group. “In using robotic fish we are building on a design created by hundreds of millions of years’ worth of evolution which is incredibly energy efficient.

Each robotic fish is about 1.5 metres long and can swim at a maximum speed of about one metre per second. Whenever they find traces of pollutants, the fish can relay the information to the shore.

Absolutely fantastic.

[from the FT][image from here]

Royal Navy submarines now running on Windows; destroyers next

As someone who has opportunity to observe the hapless and Byzantine bureaucracy of the Royal Navy in action at fairly close range, I’m both unsurprised and vaguely terrified to find that their latest batch of nuclear submarines have been fully kitted out with a specially developed version of the Windows XP operating system, and that the RN is so pleased with the speedy installation that they’ll be using the same software in a forthcoming class of destroyers. [via SlashDot]

The potential punchlines to this news pretty much write themselves.