Autonomis Robot Plankton New Robots help us learn more about our own Planet.


Internal Waves: Waves that happen underneath the ocean's surface.

Spatiotemporal: Something that belongs to both space and Time.

Autonomous: The ability to act independently from a source.

Oceanographers: A person who studies the worlds oceans and ocean life.

Q: What was the purpose behind the invention of the M-AUEs and what can they do?

In the Article “Swarm of Underwater Robots Mimic Ocean Life” at they reveal at University of California San Diego’s Scripps Department of Oceanography has developed a new form of robot known as a M-AUE that is meant to be released in large swarms. These robots are designed to mimic plankton in the ocean and figure out why plankton have been known to group up in large clusters which oceanographers have had a hard time trying to figure out due to not being able to track individual plankton due to their small size. In the article “Researchers replicate ocean life with swarm of underwater robots” by Brooks Hays gets a quote from one of the inventors of these robots Peter Franks and he says “These patches work like planktonic single bars.” He is saying that these robots mimic a type of plankton in how it floats and interacts with the water in how it moves in the ocean. These robots have helped discover how large clusters of plankton are able to group up in gigantic clusters underneath the ocean which are also known as red tides. This is helped by the fact that the robots relay info to the user every twelve seconds which help researchers study how plankton move in the ocean.

Q: Who and where were these robots created?

The M-AUEs robots were created at the University of California San Diego to help them study how planktons move around in large clusters. There are two heads of the project Jules Jaffe and Peter Franks these two worked together to create and build these robots. Peter Franks had wanted to learn how and track plankton in order to figure out how they move in large swarms underneath the ocean, but he ran into a problem that he would need to track individual plankton which we don’t have access to technology like that yet. So he had asked Jules Jaffe who is a engineer at UCSD to help him so he suggested that they build a swarm of small robots that would be able to mimic plankton in the ocean.

Q: How may these M-AUE underwater robots work to maintain buoyancy underwater and 3d map underwater?

Researchers at Scripps institute of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have developed a new form of robot that is capable of mimicking ocean life and also found use discovering more about ocean life,they are able to do it because they have a temperature gauge that affects a piston in the robots to keep the same buoyancy as plankton in the ocean and have a tracking chip in them so oceanographers can track them. Jules Jaffe an oceanographers who worked on these robots have said “We could see this swarm of robots getting pushed by currents, getting pushed together than apart,” Jaffe said. “It’s almost like a breathing motion, but it occurs over several hours.” This demonstrates the time it would take for them to get this data they would need these robots in order to get this data because we have no technology available in order to track individual plankton. These oceanographers would need these robots in order to achieve this data and learn more about our own oceans by mimicking these tiny organisms.

Q: How do M-AUEs work underwater and mimic plankton?

The M-AUEs are about the size of a grapefruit and are set into the ocean or other body of water to float around. In an article written by Jules Jaffe one of the main creators of the M-AUEs he explains how they are able to control buoyancy underneath the water “Maintaining a given depth requires an algorithm to change the vehicle’s buoyancy when ambient currents or changes in density move it vertically.” This is stating that the robots use a algorithm which is a set steps it has to follow due to it’s programming.

Q: What other jobs can M-AUEs do besides mimic plankton.

The M-AUE’s were originally designed to be used to mimic the movement of plankton underneath the ocean which is something scientist had not been able to do before, but the oceanographers and engineers are coming up with new ways to utilize the robots. In an article written by Jules Jaffe one of the heads of the project discussed some other features “Multi-dimensional sampling by swarms of subsurface vehicles in conjunction with other observational tools such as profiling moorings and even aerial observations will generate data of unprecedented spatial coverage and spatiotemporal resolution, yielding novel insights into physical and biological dynamics at submesoscales in the ocean.” This part of the paragraph is stating that these robots along with the help of other pieces of technology can be used to map out gigantic areas of the ocean and see things on the submesoscale which is smaller than the mesoscale which is a scale of weather systems and microclimates. These robots can also be used to identify other things that have been brought up in the article Swarm of Underwater Robots Mimic Ocean Life by Annie Reisewitz on In the article she finds out that the engineers had come up with other uses for the robots like “The research team has hopes to build hundreds more of the miniature robots to study the movement of larvae between marine protected areas, monitor harmful red tide blooms, and to help track oil spills. The onboard hydrophones that help track the M-AUEs underwater could also allow the swarm to act like a giant “ear” in the ocean, listening to and localizing ambient sounds in the ocean.” These are things that scientist have been wondering about how to find info on these subjects like where oli goes when it is spilled into the ocean so they can use these robots to track and follow the oil spill and see where it leads.


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