Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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MARINE NEW APPLICATIONS 58 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 push itself to speeds of about 1 meter per sec- ond," said Behzad Bayat at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Swimming like an eel is far more efficient than using propellers, the researchers suggest- ed. A fish-like way of swimming also "would create very little turbulence," van der Meer said, which could potentially enable more accurate sampling and analysis of the water. Moreover, algae are prone to getting caught in a conventional aquatic thruster, Bayat said. "In a fish or eel robot, this disturbance is mini- mal, and the robot can just swim through the algae, like what swimming animals are used to doing," Bayat said. In the current design, each module has its own battery with two lithium-polymer cells. "This gives us enough power to swim for about two hours," Bayat said. "Each module weighs about half a kilo- gram," Bayat added. "If you add a sensor to the module, depending on the sensor type and design, it would add some hundreds of grams of weight." Nature-Made Sensors Some of the modules may have water tem- perature, conductivity, oxygen and pH sen- sors. Others could have miniature chambers containing pollution sensors that fill with wa- ter as the robot swims. These types of sensors may contain bacteria, crustaceans or fish cells. They work by monitoring how the organisms react with the water, looking for signs that cer- tain key contaminants are present. They also may assess water toxicity in general. Such sen- sors have already proven highly effective in lab experiments, the researchers said. For exa mple, the scientist s developed bacteria that generate light when exposed to mercury in the water. "The detection lim- it is around 1 microgram of mercur y ions per liter water," van der Meer said. Another sensor involves tiny crustaceans know n as Daphnia. This sensor has two Photos courtesy of Felix Schill ©.

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