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Hull Bug: An Underwater Roomba for Barnacles

 |  |  |  |  |  |  October 11, 2011

Apparently, barnacles are a big problem for ships, which is why the Navy deployed their own version of an underwater Roomba to take care of the hulls of their ships. The Hull Bug is a robotic vacuum especially made for taking care of this problem.

hull bug navy barnacles ship robot vacuum maintenance

The Hull Bug is made by Sea Robotics and is currently being tested by the Navy for another 2 years. The Hull Bug is a lot more complicated than a Roomba because it needs its own sensors and algorithms, as well as functioning as a fully automated submersible. Of course, it also has to be fully waterproof and cling to the hull of a ship too.  The little robot is less than 3 feet long and weighs less than 50 pounds.

Barnacles can decrease the speed of a ship by 10% and increase fuel consumption by 40%, so something like this is critical to maintaining ships.

[via Fast Company via Ubergizmo]