Carlo Ratti - Director
Assaf Biderman - Associate Director
Luigi Farrauto - Team Leader
Carnaven Chiu -Interactive Designer
Adam Pruden
David Anderson
Malima Wolf
Diego Maniloff
Sey Min
Rex Britter
Lindsey Hoshaw
Jennifer Dunnam
David Lee
Dietmar Offenhuber
Jan Kokol
Phil Salesses
Matthew Kai Johnson Roberson
Walter Nicolino
Giovanni de Niederhausern
Samuel Colle Dominguez Maldonado
Andrea Cassi
Alberto Bottero
Filipa Carvalho
Eric Baczuk
Brendan Englot
Rob Hummel
Brooks Reed

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First generation prototype

Each Seaswarm robot is comprised of a head, which is covered by a layer of photovoltaic cells, and a nanowire covered conveyor belt. The photovoltaic cells generate enough electricity to keep the fleet moving for several weeks and provide the energy to propel the vehicles forward. As the head moves through the water the conveyor belt constantly rotates and sucks up pollution. The nanowire-covered belt is then compressed to remove the oil. As the clean part of the belt comes out of the head it immediately begins absorbing oil, making the collection process seamless and efficient.

This process is more streamlined than current ocean-skimming technologies because the robots can operate autonomously and don’t need to return to the shore for constant maintenance. As the vehicles work in unison they can cover large areas and by communicating with each other and researchers on land, they can coordinate their collection efforts. Measuring just 16 feet long by seven feet wide, the fleet can access hard to reach places like coastlines and estuaries.

The first Seaswarm prototype was tested in the Charles River in mid-August 2010. The vehicle’s flexible conveyor belt easily adapted to surface waves and succesfully propelled itself through the water. Stay tuned for future prototype updates.