Sunday 24 April 2011

Protei, Autonomous articulated Sailing Robot To Clean Up Oil Spills

A collaborative team of sail boat engineers, computer hardware and robot scientists are researching and developing a low cost open source hardware platform or sail boat skimmer to more efficiently collect oil from waterway oil spillages.The sailing boat is being specifically designed to autonomously sail  upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind.

"Spilled oil moves downwind from its source following surface currents. Traditional oil skimmers pull oil-absorbent booms and trace random linear paths in a sea of oil. But a better way to capture this oil is to sail upwind, intercepting the oil sheens traveling downwind. Protei harnesses the wind in order to power an unmanned sailing drone, pulling a long oil-absorbent ‘tail’ upwind. A fleet of many Protei will work automatically as a swarm, or be remotely controlled by coastal residents and on-line gamers."

The Protei team need more funds to continue to develop the project and are seeking financial assistance from anyone who either simply wants to donate, invest or even build their own vessels. The video here demonstrates a critical understanding of the issues, the international flavor of the collaboration, and a developmental line of the technology. Although the video suffers from poor sound quality, at least at the beginning of the video, it oughtn't be to difficult for you to do a little knob twiddling whilst watching this ecologically sound and environmentally friendly idea.

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