Problem microplastic is getting more and more serious. British engineering student designed robot fish called Gilbertwhich uses its gills to filter food microplastic rivers or seas. We already have a working prototype.

For decades we have suffered pollution that produce plastics that end up in the sea. But in recent years, a new type of pollution has emerged: microplastics.

Water, sun, wind and micro-organisms break down plastic dumped into the ocean until they turn it into smallest particles less than 0.5 cm long known as microplastic. These particles are ingested by plankton, bivalves, fish, and even whales, who mistake them for food.

This ingested plastic produces various types Problems D disease to marine faunaand also to people, because when we eat fish and shellfish from the seas and rivers, we also we swallow microplastics what they have absorbed.

Robotic fish eating microplastics

We still don’t fully know the consequences. nanoplastics in animals and humans. But given that most toxicand are deposited in the organs and blood, its action is harmful.

The University of Surrey in the United Kingdom organizes a natural robotics competition where prizes are awarded robots that imitate nature. This year’s winner was the Robo-pez project by chemistry student Eleanor McIntosh.

Eleanor suggested robot fish what microplastic filters through them gills. She’s not an engineer, so the University of Surrey took her idea and built a prototype. robot fish which filters microplasticwhich Eleanor herself christened Gilbert. You can see it in the introductory video of the news.

The size of this robora fish is half a meter. It swims by flapping its tail, keeping its mouth open to collect water (and microplastics) into its internal cavity.

Once the cavity is full, the robot closes its mouth and opens the laminar gill valves, pushing water out of the valves and lifting the bottom of the cavity.

It has pectoral fins, an engine for gills and mouth, gill rake, particle screen, independent fin motor, tail fin drive rod, tail fin motor, battery and microcontroller, as well as sensors that detect light level and water turbidity (transparency).

Gilbert can pick up microplastic from to 2 mm in size.

For this system to be effective, thousands, millions of such robots will be required. But the idea is not to use them to eliminate microplastics, but to capture a few and analyze them. So you can find out what microplastic D with what density affect certain areas.

Gilbert, robot fish which filters microplastic with their gutsit is the idea of ​​a chemistry student brought to life with the help of a group of experienced engineers.