When faced with the daunting task of evaluating the quality of drinking water, scientists in Singapore did the only logical thing and built robotic birds to patrol the reservoirs.
While simple submerged sensors would have done the trick, the BBC divulges that government research teams in the island nation completed the tedious and intricate project and unleashed a flock of swans to literally test the waters. According the reports, the lifelike swan decoys were chosen to complete the study, because of aesthetics and the ability of the mechanisms to remain afloat when encountering maritime traffic. There is no confirmation as of press time, whether or not questionable water quality is the determining factor in the reluctance of scientists to use a small boat or canoe in collecting data.
If appearances are not enough to convince the tax payers of Singapore as to the validity of the project, each swan is equipped with self navigating technology and technology, and if the floating fortress of science encounters trouble, the unit can be navigated by remote control. Another positive attribute of the design, is the absence of a nasty disposition, as swans in nature have a dubious reputation of blatant prima donna stature in the waterfowl community. Fortunately for the research team and the plastic birds, the small republic has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, and there is virtually no threat of an overzealous hunter engaging in target practice. The real threat to the avian robots comes from the mating instincts of aggressive male swans, who are residents of the island’s botanic gardens.
Read the BBC story here.