Scientists in the UK have developed robotic fish that would released into the sea for the first time to detect water pollution.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the carp-shaped robots will be let loose in the port of Gijon in northern Spain as part of a three-year research project.
If successful, the team hopes that the fish will used in rivers, lakes and seas across the world, including Britain, to detect pollution.he life-like creatures, which will mimic the undulating movement of real fish, will be equipped with tiny chemical sensors to find the source of potentially hazardous pollutants in the water, such as leaks from vessels in the port or underwater pipelines.
The fish will then transmit their data through Wi-Fi technology when they dock to charge their batteries with last around eight hours.
Rory Doyle, senior research scientist at BMT Group, has described the project as a "world first", adding that scientists involved in designing the fish were using "cutting-edge" methods to detect and reduce water pollution.
"While using shoals of robotic fish for pollution detection in harbours might appear like something straight out of science fiction, there are very practical reasons for choosing this form," he said.
"In using robotic fish, we are building on a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution which is incredibly energy efficient. This efficiency is something we need to ensure that our pollution detection sensors can navigate in the underwater environment for hours on end," he added.
"We will produce a system that allows the fish to search underwater, meaning that we will be able to analyse not only chemicals on the surface of the water, but also those that are dissolved in the water," he further added.
The five fish are being built by Professor Huosheng Hu and his robotics team at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex.
He hopes to release them into the water by the end of next year.