The United States Navy has recently completed testing of a robotic fish, called Silent Nemo, that performs underwater surveillance missions. Modelled on a bluefin tuna, the Navy hope to use the submersible drone to undertake secret underwater inspections. The Silent Nemo prototype was tested at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia by researchers from the Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) and Boston Engineering. A similar device known as GhostSwimmer has also been used by Boston Engineering to gather data on tides, currents, wakes, and weather conditions and resembles the swimming style of a large fish. Director of Boston Engineering’s Advanced Systems Group, Michael Rufo, explained, “GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and sailors safe.”
A disabled tortoise has a new lease on life after being fitted with a customised wheelchair made from Lego. Blade the tortoise suffered a number of health problems resulting in the loss of his leg strength and the ability to hold his own weight. Owner, Iris Peste, refused to give up on Blade and enlisted the help from Dr. Carsten Plischke, a vet who suggested creating a Lego wheelchair for the animal. Two sets of wheels were then fitted to the underside of Blade’s shell enabling him to scoot around. Dr Plischke said, “For people there are walkers, rollators or prostheses but for animals there are no companies that produce something like that. you have to come up with creative solutions; every animal needs its own treatment.” In more good news for Blade, his wheelchair is believed to be a temporary solution and with time the tortoise is expected to eventually regain full strength in his legs.
A group of American rocket enthusiasts have successfully launched a portable toilet into the sky following the completion of a project called ‘Thrusting the Throne’. In a field at Three Oaks in Michigan, the unusual flying object made an arc in the sky before it narrowly missed an onlooker’s pickup truck on landing. The rocket toilet was behind the Michiana Rocketry Club with members planning and implementing the project for over two years. Around 30 people worked on the invention from engineers to sales people arranging sponsors. The Michiana Rocketry Club’s objective behind the rocket toilet was to increase awareness of rocketry as a hobby. One enthusiast, Bob Bycraft, claimed the launch was carefully planned and that it wasn’t “barnyard engineering”.
The United Kingdom has launched a bus powered by food waste and human waste that services a route between Bristol and Bath. A treatment facility in Bristol run by a company called GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water, supplies treated waste products that are renewable and sustainable. Engineers suggest the Bio-Bus could offer a sustainable way to fuel public transport and reduce emissions in polluted areas. The bus seats 40 people and can travel up to three hundred kilometres on a full tank of fuel with services growing rapidly since its launch. GENeco general manager, Mohammed Saddiq, said, “Through treating sewage and food that’s unfit for human consumption we’re able to produce enough bio-methane to provide a significant supply of gas. Using bio-methane in this way not only provides a sustainable fuel, but also reduces our reliance on traditional fossil fuels.”
An English farmer has converted his Peugeot estate car into a functioning sheep dog. Dave Isaac spent over three thousand dollars to cover his family car in fur so it resembled his favourite sheep dog, Floss, who sadly passed away. Isaac said, “Sheep aren’t known for their intelligence and didn’t seem to notice the difference and were quite happy.” The vehicle has a top speed of 64 kilometres per hour and was built by Isaac and one of his close friends. However, problems developed in driving the vehicle along the narrow tracks and through the gates on the 180-acre property with the car also taking up a lot of space in Isaac’s barn. This resulted in Isaac’s decision to sell his sheep herding car with the famer saying, “They were things we didn’t really consider when we built her so with a heavy heart she is going on E-bay… As long as she goes to a good home I’ll be happy.”