An aquatic robot that devours plastic junk in the ocean

Illustration for article titled An aquatic robot that devours plastic junk in the ocean

Autonomous drones typically get a bad rap, but a new design by Elie Ahovi actually looks like it could be genuinely helpful. Concerned about rising levels of plastic waste in the oceans, Ahovi put together a design for an underwater drone that can search for and gobble-up ocean garbage. It's hoped that this device, when used en masse, could dramatically reduce the plastic islands that are forming in virtually all the Earth's oceans.

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Illustration for article titled An aquatic robot that devours plastic junk in the ocean

The drone works by patrolling the oceans autonomously, sucking plastic bottles, garbage bags, and any other kind of waste into its gaping mouth. Once full, the drone will locate and dock with its mothership, where crew members will pull the device out of the water and empty it of its contents.

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And according to Beth Buczynski of EarthTechling, the drone features a sonic emitter which sends out an irritating signal to deter aquatic life from getting near, thus preventing the bot from gobbling up living marine animals.

Right, let's hope that works — otherwise the bot could cause as much trouble to marine life as it's trying to avert.

Via TGDaily. Images via Elie Ahovi.

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DISCUSSION

Didn't an article on gizmodo debunk the "plastic island" myth? They asked a marine biologist and were told there is a lot of plastic in the ocean but in the form of small 1cmish pieces. Also the biologist was not entirely sure it was a bad thing. The plastic was providing habitats for small creatures in the otherwise empty deep ocean.