Shoal is a European Research Project Managed by BMT funded under the Seventh Framework Programme for ICT.
FishSHOAL aims to develop number of robotic fish that will work together in order to monitor and search for pollution in ports and other aquatic areas. Traditional methods of monitoring pollution involve getting samples in some way (divers) and then sending the samples back to the lab to be tested, the whole process takes time and makes real-time pollution information far from a reality. Shoal aims to make this process real-time. By having autonomously controlled fish with chemical sensors attached we aim to do these tests in-situ. Further to this the fish will also be given an intelligence so that if they do find significant amounts of pollution and they deduce it’s comming from a source they will all work together to find the source of the pollution so that the port can stop the problem early before more pollution occurs.
The Development of SHOAL will focus on research in five key areas:
In nature, fish have astonishing swimming ability after thousands years evolution. The observation of real fish shows that this kind of propulsion is more noiseless, effective, and manoeuvrable than propeller-based propulsion, which has inspired the researchers to build robotic fish that can interact with the aquatic environment efficiently.
The established methods for the detection of pollutants in waters are based on sampling and analysis of discrete water samples. The analysis is performed in laboratories located remotely away form the sampling sites and frequently the chemical analysis is carried out with expensive apparatus, such as bench-top spectrometers and chromatographs.
Until now underwater communications (UComms) have been mainly focused on point to point links in open sea between an underwater vehicle or seabed sensors and the support ship. Theoretically radio waves are usable in water; however they are of little use for this purpose because of their great attenuation at short distances.