Gilbert the robot fish sucks up microplastics in the water while swimming

The winner of the first natural robotics competition not only swims in the water like a real fish, but also helps fight pollution. Created by University of Surrey chemistry student Eleanor Mackintosh, “Gillbert” is a 3D-printed robot fish that sucks in microplastics through its gaping mouth, which can then be used as a sample to determine the health of the waterway. The independently controlled fish features a glow-in-the-dark body and a fine mesh covering its gills to filter out particles up to two millimeters wide.

Gillbert, a microplastic-collecting robotic fish created by University of Surrey chemistry student Eleanor Mackintosh.

“It’s well known that we have a problem with plastics in the environment,” says Mackintosh. “We face the challenges of finding ways to reduce and prevent it as well as clean up the water that already exists.”

Breakdown of all the components that go into the design of Mackintosh's Gillbert robotic fish.

Breakdown of all the components that go into the design of Mackintosh’s Gillbert robotic fish.

Organized by the University of Surrey, the brand new public competition invited entries from anyone with an idea for a bio-inspired robot. Mackintosh’s proposal was a simple drawing showing how the robot fish could swim through water, its internal cavity opening and then compressing to force water over its gills to collect plastic particles. The winning artwork was selected and built by a group of seasoned engineers and scientists with years of experience in realizing robotic concepts.

“We don’t know where the vast majority of plastic that enters our waters ends up,” says Dr Robert Siddall, senior lecturer at the University of Surrey and initiator of the competition. “We hope this robot fish and its future offspring will be the first steps in the right direction to help us find and eventually control this plastic pollution problem.”

Gilbert the robot fish put to the test by swimming in real water.

Gilbert the robot fish put to the test by swimming in real water.

Mackintosh's robotic fish design also glows in the dark.

Mackintosh’s robotic fish design also glows in the dark.

Roboticists participating in the competition transformed Mackintosh’s proposal into a remote-controlled robot the size of a salmon. It swims by flapping its tail while keeping its mouth wide open to collect water (and microplastics) in its internal cavity. Once the cavity is full, the robot closes its mouth and opens its lamellar gill valves, pushing water out of the valves and lifting the bottom of the cavity. Its features include pectoral fins, gill and mouth motor, gill spine, particle mesh, separate fin motor, tail fin actuator rod, tail fin motor, battery and microcontroller, and sensors that detect light levels and turbidity (clarity) of water.

The Gillbert Robotic fish design is currently available as free and open source CAD files for anyone who can 3D print.

The Gillbert Robotic fish design is currently available as free and open source CAD files for anyone who can 3D print.

You can now create your own Gillbert Robo-Fish, as plans for the current iteration of the design are available as free, open-source CAD files at GrabCad.com. Future revisions will make fish self-contained instead of remote-controlled so they can be deployed in groups. The public is encouraged to make their own modifications and improvements as they experience the design.

Other entries for the 2022 Natural Robotics Competition included a forest-protecting robot bird, a hermit crab rover, a robotic sea urchin and a plastic-collecting dolphin. You can see them all and apply for next year’s competition on the Natural Robotics competition website.

“We chose Eleanor both because we really liked the idea and the way she used bioinspiration, but also because cleaning up ocean plastic was the most common goal out of all the applications we received. so we thought our winner should reflect that,” Siddall told FOX. Time.

The post Gillbert the Robot Fish Sucks up Microplastics in Water as He Swims first appeared on Dornob.

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