Protei is the plural for Proteus, son of Poseidon, the god of the sea.
Protei is a cool open source project aimed at creating a fleet of autonomous sailboats that help skim the surface of the water and clean up oil spills. Basically the designers have moved steering from the rear of the sailboat to the front and added a long tail that absorbs the oil.
From their website:
Our vision :
Protei is a fleet of pollution collecting sailing drones. It is using existing technologies in an innovative design we can implement on the short term to address the crisis. We are developing a low-cost open-source oil collecting device that semi-autonomously sails upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind. The design of protei is meant to be hurricane-ready, self-righting, inflatable, unbreakable, cheap and easy to manufacture for immediate response.
Click through for a video explaining it in more detail.
If so inclined, you can donate to the next prototype on Kickstarter.
Researchers at the UMASS Amherst Fluid-Structure Interactions Lab have built a fish that can achieve a speed of 4 g from a standstill. Some fish, like a Pike, can achieve speeds of 15 g for a few seconds. The researchers state:
We have built a simple mechanical system to emulate the fast-start performance of fish. The system consists of a thin metal beam covered by a urethane rubber, the fish body and an appropriately shaped tail. The body form of the mechanical fish was modeled after a pike species and selected because it is a widely-studied fast-start specialist.
We have seen other robotic fish, such as the one from Maurizio Porfiri, but this fish from UMASS Amherst is so far the fastest robotic fish and will someday be able to navigate rough seas or escape imminent danger.
iRobot recently received two contracts from the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). The first contract is for $900,000 and will refurbish and upgrade NAVOCEANO’s existing Seaglider fleet. The second contract worth $920,000 will provide new Seaglider’s.
Seaglider is a torpedo like submersible that is able to work autonomously for many months at sea, while sending back data. Seaglider periodically cruises to the surface to stick its antennae up in the air and transmit data back home via satellite.
See our previous post about Seaglider, which was bought by iRobot in 2008 from the University of Washington.
Click through for a video from Komo 4 News in Seattle.
Using a nanofabric developed at MIT that absorbs oil and not water, scientists at MIT envision a fleet of Seaswarm robots cleaning up oil spills.
They also state that a swarm of 5,000 Seaswarm robots would take about a month to clean up the oil spill in the size of the one in the Gulf Coast.
Seaswarm is intended to work as a fleet, or “swarm” of vehicles, which communicate their location through GPS and WiFi in order to create an organized system for collection that can work continuously without human support. Because they are smaller than commercial skimmers attached to large fishing vessels, they are able to navigate hard to reach places like estuaries and coast lines. Seaswarm works by detecting the edge of a spill and moving inward until it has removed the oil from a single site before joining other vehicles that are still cleaning. Oil is “digested” locally so that Seaswarm does not need to make repeated trips back to shore, which would dramatically slow collection time.
The nanomaterial can absorb up to twenty times it’s own weight and the material is heated to remove the oil. The Sea Swarm is powered by solar panels and could operate autonomously for several weeks. Seaswarm is sixteen feet long and seven feet wide.