From solar-powered underwater research bots to ones that tweet about California water quality, robots are becoming water-friendly devices. The Marine Drone is the latest among these, designed to search and destroy garbage in the ocean.
The project was spearheaded by Elie Ahovi, an industrial design student at French International School of Design. After seeing the huge amounts of junk floating in areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patches, Ahovi and some fellow students decided to create a solution. The Marine Drone works autonomously to suck garbage into a built-in net. When the net is full, the drone is programmed to head back to its docking station and be cleaned out by a crew. Water-proof batteries power the silent electric motor, and a sonic emitter produces a signals designed to keep fish and other animals away from the net. It's unclear how effective this would be and whether it will create one form of pollution (noise) in order to clean up the plastic kind.
A few questions come up when considering this project, like: Where does the ocean garbage go once it's been collected at the docking station? Could this be implemented in other bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers? Ahovi responded to these questions by saying that garbage collected is recycled on land, and that the current design is too large to accomodate smaller bodies of water. If the design team can turn the project into an actual working product, we could have a solution to the overwhelming amounts of waste in the ocean.
Credit: Elie Ahovi