Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Powerful Ideas: Navy Plans Robotic Barnacle Buster

The US Office of Naval Research recently conducted tests with a developmental ship hull grooming robot, called the Robotic Hull Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming (HULL BUG) tool. The HULL BUG is similar in concept to a autonomous robotic home vacuum cleaner or lawn mower and incorporates the use of a biofilm detector that utilizes modified fluorometer technology to enable the robot to detect the difference between the clean and unclean surfaces on the hull of a ship. Credit: U.S. Navy

From Live Science:

To help save energy on warships, the navy might one day deploy underwater robots that help vessels conserve fuel by scrubbing their hulls clean to make them cut through the water better.

As harmless as barnacles on hulls might seem to landlubbers, these crustaceans generate "increased drag as these ships move from port to port across the world's oceans," explained Office of Naval Research program officer Steve McElvany.

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