Dr. Tan Receives NSF RAPID Grant: Robotic Fish to Track Gulf Oil Spill

Dr. Xiaobo Tan has received a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant from the National Science Foundation, to develop robotic fish for detecting and monitoring the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

RAPID is an NSF funding mechanism developed specifically to respond to natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events, where a timely response is essential in achieving research results.

Although the spewing of crude oil has been stopped, the oil that already leaked into the Gulf of Mexico is expected to impact  the environment, ecosystem and local economy for years to come. Monitoring and tracking the oil plume is critical for cleanup efforts, beach closure warnings, protection of sensitive areas, and understanding of the spill's environmental and ecological impacts. With the pressing need from the Gulf crisis, this RAPID project aims to provide an efficient and economical technology for detecting and tracking the oil spill by leveraging ongoing work on robotic fish development at MSU and focusing on a few key technological areas, so that  robotic fish equipped with crude oil sensors can operate reliably in rough environments like the Gulf.

An abstract of the grant can be viewed at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1050236