The deaths of around 50 manatees in Tabasco last year due to toxic algae served as the catalyst for a Puebla student to develop a submarine robot capable of measuring water contamination levels and sending the data it collects in real time.
Aldo Rodríguez, a computer science student at the Benemérita Autonomous University of Puebla, was shocked when he heard about the manatees that perished in the Bitzales region of the Gulf coast state in July and August 2018.
He decided to put his knowledge into practice by developing a robot that could help to prevent future deaths of manatees and other marine species.
Rodríguez told the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt) that his submarine robot prototype has sensors that measure water quality.
The data it collects is sent to a receiving device which then uploads the information to the internet, he explained, adding that sensors also relay information about the robot’s location and the condition of its battery.
Rodríguez said that having information about the quality of water in lakes, rivers and streams could not only help to protect marine life but also prevent illnesses caused by the consumption of contaminated water.
He explained that pH levels of between 6.0 and 7.2 are best for most aquatic creatures and that outside that range most species will die.
Rodríguez said that his invention, which has already won the top prize at two science and technology fairs, could also be used at fish farms to ensure that water quality is maintained.
His submarine robot weighs three kilograms, is capable of reaching depths up to five meters and costs around 20,000 pesos (US $1,050) to make.
Source: Conacyt Prensa (sp)