A bio-inspired robot is here and it swims! A Robot Fish



Here’s How Gillbert, a 3D-printed robot fish, is intended to help reduce water pollution

Eleanor Mackintosh, a University of Surrey student, designed Gillbert, a robot fish that vacuums microplastics from waterways. The robot filters water with its gills while keeping microplastics in its container. Gillbert’s design is open source and free to download, so anyone with a 3D printer can make their own Gillbert. The presence of microplastics in drinking water and other sources of usable water poses a significant risk to human health. Microplastics are tiny plastic flecks with less than a five-millimeter diameter (0.2 inches). To address this health risk, a novel 3D gadget in the shape of a fish has been designed.

The University of Surrey’s Natural Robotics Contest, a public competition, was won by a robot fish that filters microplastics. Eleanor Mackintosh, a chemistry undergraduate student studying at the University of Surrey, created the Robot Fish. According to the University of Surrey, an international panel of judges chose the robot fish design because it could be part of a solution to reduce plastic pollution in our waterways. “We don’t know where the vast majority of plastic dumped into our waterways ends up,” said Dr. Robert Siddall, Lecturer at the University of Surrey and the contest’s creator. “We hope that this robot fish and its future descendants are the first steps in the right direction to help us find and, eventually, control this plastic pollution problem.”

The robot fish is about the size of a salmon and has gills that it uses to filter water as it swims. “The robot swims by flapping its tail, holding its mouth wide open to collect water (and microplastics) in an internal cavity as it does so,” according to the online science website new atlas. When that cavity is full, the bot closes its mouth, opens its louver-like gill flaps, and pushes the water out through those flaps by raising the cavity floor. A fine mesh attached to the gill flaps allows water to pass through while trapping plastic particles.” “The robot fish will join other pollution-fighting robots under development at the University of Surrey, contributing to a more sustainable world,” Dr. Siddall added. Microplastics can take hundreds or thousands of years to degrade. Its ecological effects on the ecosystem are a pressing issue that must be carefully considered.


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