The prototype looks like a fish, moves in the water at a speed of 0.15 km / h, collects and transports garbage to another place.

Researchers have developed robots similar to fish. The devices are capable of cleaning the water column of the World Ocean from plastic debris particles and toxic molecules. The work is published in ACS Publications. The results were announced on Wednesday by the press service of the American Chemical Society.

Approximately 300 million tons of plastic garbage end up in wastewater and landfills every year. Most of the microbes are unable to decompose and the waste remains there for tens or even hundreds of years.

Micro fragments of the polymer do not stay in the water for a long time and, apparently, are eaten by marine fauna. Some of them can enter the human body together with the meat of fish, shellfish and crustaceans. A large number of micro plastic particles and the variety of their forms complicate the process of cleaning the world’s oceans from garbage.

Chemists have developed an approach that will allow cleaning the Earth’s hydrosphere from plastic using autonomous robots. They resemble small fish in size and shape. The development consists of graphene sheets glued with sugary substances. The sheets are connected in such a way that they resemble the outer layer of a clam shell, but at the same time retain flexibility and can “heal” damage.”

If a graphene ribbon is illuminated with a laser beam, it will move in the water with wave-like vibrations, as do fish and other “flat” marine animals. If a sticky or porous material is applied to the robot’s surface, it can search for and collect plastic particles.

“The nanorobot is able to move in water at a speed of about 0.15 kilometers per hour, which is several times faster than other models of soft robots have been able to achieve. As the first tests of these machines have shown, they are able to collect a large number of plastic particles and transport them to another place,” the report says.

A test of several prototypes showed that they are able to tolerate collisions with other objects. Scientists hope that the machines will be used to clean the most polluted regions of the world’s oceans in the near future.