Chile uses high-tech buoy to protect endangered whales

A smart buoy that can ‘listen’ to the ocean and monitor climate change is the new bet of an initiative that aims to help endangered whales.

The smart equipment was installed by the Blue Boat Initiative in the Gulf of Corcovado, 1,100 km south of Santiago, Chile. Sonia Espanol, director of the initiative, said the aim is to “cover the entire migratory route of whales from Antarctica to Ecuador”.

MERI Foundation via REUTERS

The zone chosen by the initiative is strategic. The site, in addition to sheltering several species such as the blue whale, the sei whale and the right whale, has suffered from the high volume of maritime traffic. And noise pollution affects animals that depend on sound to hunt and navigate.

Read more:

Using software called Listening to the Deep Ocean Environment (LIDO), the buoy can monitor sounds and identify, using artificial intelligence, marine species and aquatic ecosystems in real time. The equipment also alerts nearby vessels so they can reduce noise and avoid collisions with animals.

The device also contains sensors to measure water temperature, oxygen levels and other features to monitor ocean health and the impact of climate change.

Robot fish created to filter microplastics from ocean wins award

The University of Surrey’s Natural Robots competition awarded the top prize to a robot fish that filters microplastic particles from water while swimming.

The winning project was developed by chemistry major Eleanor Mackintosh. The robot fish is able to collect water and then filter the microplastic into an internal cavity. A fine mesh attached to the slits of the “gills” lets water through, but captures plastic particles, like a filter.

The robot fish is 50 centimeters long and collects particles up to 2 millimeters. Additionally, it has onboard sensors that monitor turbidity and underwater light levels, as well as an IMU (inertial measurement unit) to track its movements in the water.

Leave a Comment