Robot Tuna: Protecting Our Coastal Waters from AttackWith fears of USA borders being invaded by terrorists, Homeland Security has contracted with Boston Capital Engineering to construct an array of underwater robotic machines. Interestingly, the newest of these devices is to be called the BIOSwimmer and will be built to resemble the tuna fish that you enjoy in a tuna casserole or your classic tuna sandwich. However, each of these specialized units will then be equipped with the newest electronic monitoring devices in an ongoing attempt to provide strategic surveillance systems in the waters surrounding US shorelines.

The main purpose for the development of these underwater, mechanically operated, robotic tuna fish is to be able to observe suspected, hostile, coastal breaches that could be missed by sonar and elevate our terror alert status. However, on a more everyday note, these same systems could protect divers from encountering dangers lurking in murky or oily waters where visibility is limited.

While it is obvious how the BIOSwimmer could assist these divers, it is also conceivable that it would benefit coastal authorities if there was a fear that radiation or any other form of contaminant could endanger a diver’s health. Continuing on with the possibilities for these robotic fish, one cannot leave out how they could be useful in saving or recovering survivors of boating accidents or in exploring sunken ships to locate lost crew and cargo.

However, despite all of its possibilities, one must acknowledge that the main purpose of the BIOSwimmer is to locate potential explosives that could pose a danger to citizens. In fact, this may just be the answer to the concern that many have held for years that terrorists could place explosives under pilings that support piers, bridge supports, or boats anchored in harbours or other similar locations.

The pluses to the BIOSwimmer are many including the fact that it can remain submerged and observe for long periods of time without the need to rest or take a potty break. Additionally, the robot won’t need time off for family, holidays, or other social occasions. Like airborne drones, the robotic tuna and the services that it could provide are limitless. In fact, I can see a day when the little robot tuna could actually be used to monitor shipping in not only our own harbors, but those of our enemies.

In terms of military usage, it is easy to see how the BIOSwimmer could be used. Again, for example, when the Iranian navy threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz to block oil tankers from passing, the robot tuna could have been used to monitor its activities. Not only would we have had an awareness of how many ships were being used openly by the opposition, but we could also have been afforded the ability to locate smaller vessels concealed behind islands and other obstacles.

Another possibility: What about using the BIOSwimmer, fitted with small explosive charges, to sink or disable boats that pose a threat to shipping? Or, for that matter, what about using them in the Somalia area, where pirates attack both yachts and shipping vessels, often resulting in the deaths of those on board? It sure seems to me that these underwater, miniature stealth submersibles would be worth their weight in gold if they could be used to monitor or disrupt these pirates’ activities.

So, while I have listed many ways in which I believe that these amazing robots could assist our country, I am sure that Homeland Security and other agencies, like the US Coast Guard, could find plenty of other uses for them.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source: Science, Space & Robots

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Giant Ginkgo