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August 26, 2010 / Martijn

Autonomous Swarming Robots Collecting Oil As A Team

Swarms of autonomous, solar-powered towel-bots, based on a nanowire mesh, could help those oil-eating microbes clean up the Gulf of Mexico. The “Seaswarm” robot moves like a tank in water, using a conveyor belt to roll over the ocean’s surface.

The belt is made of an ultra-light nanowire mesh, patented at MIT, that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. Its hydrophobic properties deflect water while sucking up various forms of pollution. The nanowire’s inventors have compared it to a paper towel for oil spills.

via Autonomous Swarming Robots Can Skim Sea Surface, Collecting Oil As A Team | Popular Science.

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