April 12, 2011 weblog
Cesar Herada designs oil sucking drones to help clean the seas after a spill
(PhysOrg.com) -- Oil spills represent a significant danger to the oceans of the world. Many of us watched the DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and wished that there was a simple way to clean it up.
As it turns out someone with some serious skills also wanted that. Cesar Herada, a researcher who has formerly been associated with Ushahidi and MIT's Senseable City Lab, has created the Protei oil-spill cleaning drone. The Protei oil-spill cleaning drone is designed to be a semi-autonomously device that can sail into the sea and scoop up the oil in a spill, leaving the oil in the container and the water in the ocean.
How is this accomplished? With the help of powerful oil-sucking booms that are built into the device. The oil-sucking boom is detachable, and each one is able to hold up to two tons of crude oil per trip. The advantage to using one of these devices is that no humans have to be exposed to toxic substances in order to clean up the mess.
The Protei drones are also able to be modified for other types of disasters. In the future modified versions of the Protei drones may possibly be sent in to detect the levels of radiation in water supplies, or to collect samples of other potentially polluted waters. The designers have also mentioned that there may be some commercial uses for the Protei drones as well, but they did not give any specifics on this point.
The best part is that Protei is an Open Source Hardware project. This means that its design will be available to the public, so it can be built by anyone. The remote controlled Protei is relatively inexpensive to produce and inflatable.
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