Ariel Schwartz

MIT's Seaswarm Robots Could Clean Up Gulf-Sized Spill in a Month

by , 08/25/10
filed under: green gadgets

seaswarm, mit, robots, oil spill, deepwater horizon, gulf

We can thank MIT for adding another piece of weaponry to our future oil spill cleanup arsenal. Dubbed the Seaswarm, this autonomous 16-foot long, 7- foot wide robot features an oil-absorbing conveyor belt covered with a nanowire mesh, carefully designed to absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil all while repelling water. But as impressive as that may sound, perhaps the best feature of this new bot is the fact that it is completely autonomous. Affixed with two square meters of solar panels, unlike traditional oil skimmers which require frequent maintenance, the Seaswarm can run at full power continuously for weeks on end. Jump ahead to see a video of this amazing robot in action.


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As the name implies, the Seaswarm robots are intended to be used en masse, with wireless communication and GPS ensuring that a group of robots effectively cover the entire area of a spill. And according to MIT, a swarm of 5,000 robots could clean up a Deepwater Horizon-sized spill in a month. Not bad for a fleet of robots.

+ MIT

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3 Comments

  1. MIT Develops Self-Assem... September 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    [...] ready for super-charged solar cells! MIT researchers announced this week that they have developed self-assembling solar cells that can be [...]

  2. angelop.mendez August 31, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Maybe they can make a baby submarine and use the same idea to clean that up. If it runs low on battery it can come up to recharge like a whale comes up to take a breathe.

  3. xtreker15 August 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    this would be great and all if the oil wasn’t a few thousand feet down.

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