Robo-Fisher, a submersible robot designed to clean the floors of giant aquariums, is being developed by Osaka City University and eight private companies. Underwater operations were tested last week at a diver training pool in Osaka.
The 1-meter (3.3-ft.) long, 160-kilogram (350-lb.) robot features a water-pressure powered motor that relies on water fed through a hose connected to an electric pump outside the aquarium. Robo-Fisher directs a jet of water at the floor to free up detritus in the sand, which it then vacuums up and removes from the aquarium through a hose. The water-powered motor eliminates the danger of accidentally electrocuting the fish in the aquarium.
Researchers are developing Robo-Fisher with the cooperation of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which is known for its giant whale shark. The robot is also equipped with a small camera that can shoot video of the surrounding fish. In the future, aquarium visitors will be able to simulate the experience of walking underwater by operating the remote control camera and watching real-time video. There are also plans to broadcast live video over the Internet.
At present, divers use shovels to clean the aquarium floor four times a day.
[Source: Asahi Shimun]