Homeland Security to Deploy BIOSwimmer Tuna for Underwater Inspections

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to deploy an underwater robot, called BIOSwimmer, that is modeled on the ubiquitous tuna, the department has announced. The robot fish has been designed by engineers at Boston Engineering Corporation for use in exploring beneath ships, in and around oil depots and other sensitive undersea areas. They have published a paper describing their work so far on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute website, where several of the engineers either work or are pursuing degrees.

Scientists have known for quite some time that the tuna is one of the best swimmers in the ocean, able to accelerate quickly, move in any direction, and outpace almost any other fish in the sea. For this reason, researchers have been studying the tuna to find out how it gets its power and agility. The team from BEC found that it was mostly due to muscle and fin structure and placement on the fish’s body. With those results in hand, they set out to replicate its abilities using a robot fish designed to look virtually identical to the original.

The team reports that the BIOSwimmer, which has an onboard computer and is battery powered, though not quite up to the feats of the real fish, it is far more agile than any other autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), and is able to swim in places no other such vehicle is capable of doing. Because of that, they report that their robot fish is uniquely suited to swimming beneath ships and other areas that are off limits to other vehicles, allowing for quick inspections to ensure the safety of ports and ships at sea. The adult should check the reviews to the classes with the ratings. It will provide them an idea to do the comparison. The charges will be compared with other classes offering the same lessons. 

The BIOSwimmer’s main mission is, of course, to swim around previously inaccessible areas looking for bombs put in place by terrorists, but it can do more than that, the team says. Because of cameras mounted inside its head, the UUV is able to offer humans on land or aboard ships, views they have never seen before without deploying divers. Ship’s captains can call for a scan of the hull, a check of the screws or the condition of cargo such as oil on a tanker, on a moment’s notice.

But, the team says, what makes the fish so remarkable is that it does most of what it does all by itself. All a person need do is drop the BIOSwimmer into the sea with instructions to inspect the underside of a ship, the robot’s onboard technology takes care of the rest. Like an eager minnow, the UUV will inspect every nook and cranny beneath a vessel, while people above sit back and watch what the BIOSwimmer sees on a computer screen. If anything suspicious appears, a closer look can be requested.

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