Something’s Fishy Here… Robo-Tuna Sinks War On Drugs To New Depths

Something’s Fishy Here… Robo-Tuna Sinks War On Drugs To New Depths

Would be smugglers and terrorists hoping to sneak drugs and weapons into the country hidden aboard vessels had better think again, for their plans will soon be rumbled by US government’s latest secret weapon – robotic fish.

Modeled on the vastly under-rated tuna fish – one of the fastest and most maneuverable of all the creatures of the deep – the newly developed BIOswimmer robofish will be able to search and inspect the hulls of ships, and even the ocean floor should the bad guys attempt to ditch their contraband overboard.

The BIOSwimmer is designed to operate in the harshest of environments, featuring a flexible aft section, plus numerous fins in the most appropriate positions to ensure maximum maneuverability.

Researchers at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate said that the BIOSwimmer is a vast improvement of current underwater robots, which are plagued by maneuverability and propulsion problems. As well as being able to scan the hull of ships, the BIOSwimmer is also said to be nimble enough to squeeze into the most hard-to-reach places, such as flooded bilges and tanks, which are some of the favorite hiding places of smugglers.

The robo-fish can also inspect harbors and piers for safety purposes, carry out general inspections on the sea floor, or possibly even be used for spying and other military purposes.

Mike Rufo, of the Advance Systems Group of the Boston Engineering Corp., which is helping Homeland Security to design the BIOSwimmer, explained:

“It’s designed to support a variety of tactical missions and with its interchangeable sensor payloads and reconfigurable operator controls, can be optimized on a per-mission basis,”

The BIOSwimmer is powered by lithium-ion batteries, and carries an on-board computer used for communications, sensor processing and navigation.

Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is a senior staff writer at SiliconANGLE. He loves to write about Big Data and the Internet of Things, and explore how these technologies are evolving and helping businesses to become more agile.

Before joining SiliconANGLE, Mike was an editor at Argophilia Travel News, an occassional contributer to The Epoch Times, and has also dabbled in SEO and social media marketing. He usually bases himself in Bangkok, Thailand, though he can often be found roaming through the jungles or chilling on a beach.

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  1. Perhaps whether people connected to smuggling contraband are “bad guys” or not depends on the quality of the rules that delineate contraband. Here’s what Adam Smith had to say about a smuggler: “a person, who, though no doubt highly blameable for violating the laws of his country, is frequently incapable of violating those of natural justice, and would have been, in every respect, an excellent citizen, had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so.”

  2.  @vicesquad I think it’s a personal opinion more than anything else. Some people are quite happy that these guys are bringing their daily fix in for them, others are dead against it, and then there’s people like me – totally indifferent to the matter! I just think the fish is cool ;)

  3.  @MikeWheatley  @vicesquad Yeah, the fish is cool. I know that this is not a drug policy article, and my comment is not all that germane here. Why did I post it, then? I think that drug prohibition is a terribly misguided policy, one that is about a century old but hasn’t been effectively challenged until recently. As a result, there are all sorts of minor ways in which prohibition has influenced thinking and writing that are all but invisible. The fact that (almost) no one would bat an eye to an offhand reference to drug smugglers as “bad guys” is what motivated me. In the US, alcohol importers were once bad guys, but then we changed our laws, and they became good guys, community leaders, business people, maybe even job creators. I am hoping that we will see a similar evolution in the drug market.

  4. Understood, yes I agree they are not bad guys in everyone’s eyes, and my choice of word can certainly be argued about. But from the fish’s point of view at least, I would guess they are ‘bad guys’.
    Incidentally, I also agree with your position on drugs laws, I think they should be reviewed, and perhaps some softer drugs could be regulated and taxed. I think the Dutch have the right idea ;)

  5. @typicalprog Great, where’s my Sean Young?

  6. I’d like to know what the real tuna think of this fish!

  7.  @KimCooper They’ll be hoping the fishermen don’t get wind of it lol

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