5 Robots Hungry for Plastic

Plastic's durability and resistance to degradation, which makes it so useful, also make it practically impossible for nature to break down completely.

1. FRED

FRED is a solar-powered, semi-autonomous marine robot capable of collecting marine plastic pollution without the need for fossil fuels or a human crew. FRED can be customized and scaled for lakes, rivers, bays, coasts, and open oceans.

2. Waste Shark

The "shark," an electric vehicle that travels through rivers, can collect up to 132 pounds of plastic debris on its own. According to the machine's designer, the Dutch technology company RanMarine, if it's used five days a week, it can collect 15.6 tons of plastic garbage from a body of water every year.

3. The Seabin

By pumping water into the gadget, the Seabin serves as a floating garbage bin that skims the surface of the water, catching floating trash, macro and microplastics, and even tiny fibers. The Seabin V5 can clean water from contaminated organic debris as well by serving as a trash skimmer.

4. Mr. Trash Wheel

Mr. Trash Wheel is a semi-autonomous trash interceptor that is typically placed at the end of a river or stream that uses solar and hydropower to pull hundreds of tons of trash out of the water each year.

5. Seaswarm

Different from the other, the Seaswarm likes oil. To push itself, Seaswarm uses a photo voltaic-powered conveyor belt built of a fine nanowire mesh. The nanomaterial, which was developed at MIT, can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. Seaswarm operates by sensing the spill's edge and going inward until all of the oil has been recovered from a specific location and does not have to make multiple excursions back to shore to "digest" the oil.

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