Aquatic Robotics

Robot to Help Clean Up Vieques Island

Posted 9 Aug 2005 at 23:44 UTC by steve Share This

The Puerto Rican island of Vieques was bombed daily by the US Navy for 60 years to test all manner of live bombs and ordinance despite protests by the islands tiny population. The coral reefs around the island have been reduced to shrapnel-filled craters and the waters is littered with unexploded bombs, depleted uranium projectiles, and barrels of toxic waste. Fish carry dangerously high levels of toxins and the cancer rate on the island has risen over 25%. University of Georgia Professor James Porter began working with the residents in 1999 to survey the damage and restore the ecosystem after their Declaration of Ultimatum to the Navy finally stopped the bombing. As part of the clean up process a huge robot arm is being employed to lift unexploded bombs out of the water for disposal. The robot can lift up to 225kg. Porter says similar robots could assist with ordinance clean up in coastal waters around the world. The only hold up is that money promised by the EPA to fund the robotic clean up of the Navy's mess has yet to arrive. See the Vieques gallery for photos of the island and related events.


robot arm..., posted 13 Aug 2005 at 16:42 UTC by Pontifier » (Apprentice)

Remote control backhoe? Somehow this seems to be bluring a line... if that line realy exists at all.

Definitions, definitions, definitions..., posted 15 Aug 2005 at 12:32 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

I'm assuming, dear Ponty, that you're questioning the inclusion of a teleoperated thing in robotics? It's all a matter of definitions. (Which, are a waste of time according to some).

"Robot Wars" really sparked a lot of arguments about radio-controlled things "not being robots," but this kind of ignores history, as well as the way that language works. You can't make a word mean what you want it to mean all on your own. If everyone in the world thinks a robot can be teleoperated, then teleoperated robots are robots. Anyway, it's not a new use of the word at all. Traffic light signs were originally called "robot traffic signals" and I think they still are in South Africa. The British Army have used "bomb disposal robots" for a very long time, and they're not even radio-controlled - there's a big wire!

Of course, you might reasonably say that this website, despite its name, should only be concerned with autonomous robots. That despite the common definition, there's a jargon usage. However true that might be, the only real definition that counts I reckon is use, and in this case that would be is anyone interested in the story...

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