Robotic Swans to check water pollution

When you see a swan gliding across the water, your mind is automatically reminded of grandeur and grace. They are a symbol of beauty everlasting, often associated with alluring princesses and fairy tale romances. However, if recent experimental creations are anything to go by, swans will soon be associated with much more than mere tales of fantasy. They will surpass their role as a symbol of elegance to become a symbol of environmental change by measuring the level of water pollution in various regions across Singapore.

Created by researchers working at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the NuSwans are out on a mission to make a difference. These robotic creatures were built by the Tropical Marine Science Institute in conjunction with the Environmental Research Institute in order to record changes in fresh water pertaining to biological and other factors.

Equipped with constant connection to the Cloud, the data collected by these mechanical creatures can be relayed to researchers in real time, thereby saving plenty of time and energy. Moreover, just like their real counterparts, these are fairly independent creatures. In fact, once released into the water, they don’t depend upon any remote system to dictate their route, but can instead drift autonomously for hours as per researchers. This helps them blend into their surroundings, since they will primarily be released in public areas. Being structured as close to the real creatures as possible, they are crafted with enough detail to fool anyone not paying close attention. In fact, their aimless drifting may even be mistaken for a real swan, especially when seen from afar. Coming too close, however, can spoil this illusion. After all, while they maintain the show above water, below the water is an entirely different story. Underneath their coat of feathers, these swans are equipped with technology to test the waters they are in.

The equipment hidden in the guise of the swans can measure the level of water pollution as well as help in monitoring the different biological and physical components within. This ingenious invention is believed to be much more effective than traditional means of testing water pollution, especially if it passes its current tests. After all, not only do these swans require minimal supervision, but they are also experts in relaying pertinent information. This is due to their use of GPS technology, as this helps them test only the areas that have been assigned to them. This way, there isn’t an information overload, and yet the necessary data aren’t compromised. It can potentially save enormous amount of research costs as well as efforts, helping researchers focus their energy into specific regions rather than maintaining an overly broad outlook. However, their ability to drift autonomously is also a source of flexibility which can come in handy whenever need be.

Researchers at NUS hope to release these elegant mechanical creatures in reservoirs all over the country. If things go well from there on forward, it is likely that they will also be making their presence felt globally, thereby leading the effort in the management of water pollution.

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