Eco Factor: Self-powered robot to monitor long-term impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Liquid Robotics has developed a new gadget for BP, which will be able to measure the long term impacts of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The robot, called Wave Glider, can cruise through the water on a pre-programmed course for up to a year. Moreover, using the on onboard GPS antenna, the robot can be given new instructions remotely from the shore.
In addition to a GPS antenna, the device also includes a weather station and sensors that can detect dispersed oil and microscopic phytoplankton. The Wave Glider is propelled through the water by converting even the smallest waves into energy. Moreover, the onboard solar panels produce all the power necessary to operate the onboard electronic equipment.
The device has two parts – the top platform, which floats on the surface of water and carries the solar panels and sensors, and a winged bottom component, which has been designed to run 20 feet below the surface and attached to the surface component by an umbilical cable. The device generates power from the natural movement of the water, which pushes it up and down.