The next step is to take FILOSE out for a swim, something that Kruusmaa admits will be a challenge. “The sensors we have work in the lab, but the real world environment is much more complicated.”
Some researchers are trying to combine the highly-sophisticated sensing devices such as FILOSE, with robust scientific instruments that can bring back more information about the oceans.
“In the terrestrial environment, when you know the smell of food or some organic matter, you can say that’s what it looks like and I can build an electronic device that can follow that signal,” said Kanna Rajan, principal researcher for autonomy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
Rajan is designing robots with artificial intelligence to make its own decisions about how to hunt for oil spills or perform other underwater scientific tasks. It’s a lot tougher to build smart robots underwater, than a place like Mars, said Rajan, a former NASA AI researcher.
“There is no clear idea of how a chemical plume of oil or anything else to be absolutely sure you are following that line, Rajan said. “There is a huge leap in terrestrial environments and underwater environments.”
Along with Kruusmaa’s graduate student Taavi Salumae, who is first author on study, the FILOSE project was a joint effort with researchers from the University of Bath (UK), Riga Technical University (Latvia), Verona University, (Italy) and the Italian Institute of Technology. An article describing the device is appearing today in [url=http://dx.doi.org