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How This Robotic 'Eel' Sniffs Out Pollution In Our Water

By Maria Cook

Modern robots are truly amazing. Some, like Boston Dynamic's WildCat robot, can run faster than the fastest human on earth. Others, like Blue Frog Robotic's Buddy robot, are designed to be in-home companions that keep us company and help with daily tasks. Now, a new robot, dubbed Envirobot by its creators, has been engineered specifically to sniff out sources of water pollution. 

Envirobot was designed by engineers at l’École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, the country's top Technology Institute, which boasts around 10,000 students and 300 professors. According to TechCrunch, these are the same engineers and robotics experts who helped bring Pleurobot (a semi-aquatic, salamander-like robot with highly realistic movements) to life. They also produced several realistic reptile robots for a BBC nature documentary--so convincingly lifelike that identifying them as robots takes a few second looks. Over the past several years, EPFL has made a worldwide name for itself by creating robots inspired by nature that can help solve problems created by people.