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Tech News Bit: Drones Hit the Stream

robotfish_EMAILDrones are usually in the news for their military-related exploits. This week, we get to take a look at how drone technology is being utilized in a more positive light. This Mashable article documents research done by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers who recently created a “fish drone” called Sensor Fish. Sensor Fish gives us a real look at the life of a salmon trying to swim through a hydroelectric damn and all the dangers they encounter.

In the United States, 90 percent of all salmon survive the turbine blades that swirl in man-made damns. The assumption has always been that these turbines are the main cause of death for salmon making the trek to the open ocean. With the help of Sensor Fish, it turns out sudden pressure changes may be the real culprit.

Sensor Fish managed to measure that an individual salmon can experience pressure changes as extreme as what we would feel if “an elevator went from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest in less than a second.” With this new data, we can now take pressure change in to account when building future turbines.

At the very least, Sensor Fish has demonstrated a worthwhile alternative use for drone technology.

 

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