Oil Spills can be cleaned up by a swarm


As you watched the devastating images of the DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, did you ever wish that there were some device that could just absorb all this harmful crude oil and save the planet? Well, we all indulge in wishful thinking but this time your wish has come true. The new Protei sea drone can do just what is desired, it can clean up the sea after an oil spill, with the help of powerful oil-sucking booms. Protei is an Open Source Hardware so its design will be available to the public. The Protei oil-spill cleaning drones have been designed by Cesar Herada, who was formerly associated with Ushahidi and MIT’s Senseable City Lab. Protei is a drone that can semi-autonomously sail into the sea in case an oil spill occurs. This means that if a fleet of Protei drones successfully operate during a disaster then there will be no need to send human beings to clean up the mess, and humans will not be exposed to toxic substances.

The Protei drones have a detachable oil-sucking boom, which can collect a maximum of 2 tons of oil per trip. The best part is that these Protei drones can be modified to deal with any other kind of disaster as well, for instance, they can be sent out to collect data about the radiation level in the water if a meltdown is occurring at a nearby power plant or it might also be able to collect plastic, and the makers have not ruled out commercial applications as well. A Protei drone does not lose energy while traveling against the wind. In other words, it intercepts the oil sheens going downwind.

The Protei drones are inflatable and unbreakable, and they are cheap and easy to manufacture. These factors will enable fast mass production and immediate action in case a disaster strikes.The present form of the Protei drones need to be controlled from the shore but the maker aims at making this process like a virtual game. The vision for the future is that these drones will all be controlled by a series of algorithms and GPS data. The makers aim at involving computer users around the world to monitor the progress of their own Protei drones to attack any environmental disaster.

Via: fastcompany