In aquaculture enterprises of a certain size, staff are required to conduct regular inspections of aquatic products to avoid diseases such as parasites. Typically, this work needs to be left to the diver. The disadvantage is that the bubbles produced by human sudden dive and breathing may cause greater pressure on aquatic organisms and pose a risk of causing unnecessary health problems. With this in mind, a team of researchers at Tallinn Polytechnic University has created an underwater remote-controlled robot similar to a turtle.
(From: Norwegian SciTech News)
To find a fish-friendly alternative to diving inspection, Professor Maarja Kruusmaa and colleagues created a robotic turtle called U-CAT. In addition to the bionic shape, the U-CAT has installed a camera device on the head.
It’s worth noting that the U-CAT is able to act independently and unconstrained, with four independently driven motors that swing their feet to move quietly up and down or back and forth.
Aquaexcel Suplementary (via)
When Maarja and team members were testing at a farm in Norway, the salmon did not respond to the robot’s proximity, but swam freely and calmly around it.
According to Kruusmaa, the secret to U-CAT’s success lies in its small size and slow movement (rather than mimicking how realistic a turtle is).
In contrast, divers and other remote-controlled robots, which are very active, put more pressure on the fish. Looking ahead, the research team intends to further reduce the cost of manufacturing robots and put them into use in more innovative areas.
Details of the study have been published in the recently published journal Royal Society Open Science, originally titled Salmon’s sex to robots aquaculture sea cage.