London, April 24 (ANI): NASA has developed a new robot that can tirelessly work inside oceans, feeding on the heat of water.
The SOLO-TREC is a wax-filled buoy that draws power by the temperature differences in the water around it.
It has been tirelessly diving to depths of 500 metres off the Hawaiian coast thrice a day since last November.
The float collects data on temperature and salinity to improve studies of ocean currents.
The SOLO-TREC uses thermal energy from the ocean whenever it travels from the cold depths to the warmer surface.
A compartment comprising with two different waxes surrounds oil tubes on its shell. They flip from solid to liquid when the sea temperature rises over 10 0C, and expand by 13 per cent.
The expanding wax squeezes oil from the tubes into the float's interior, where it is stored at high pressure.
Thereafter, the oil is released to work a generator and charge batteries.
They power the pumps that take on and drive out water so the buoy can dive and surface, as well as the float's GPS receiver, sensors and the transmitter that beams data to satellites when at the surface.
"Each full dive generates about 200 watts for 30 seconds," the New Scientist quoted Jack Jones, one of the project's leaders at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as saying.
The buoy can recharge as it travels to the warm surface. Each dive generates about 200 watts for 30 seconds
Jones and his team now hope to develop several floats to boost existing monitoring of oceanic conditions, which aid in weather and climate prediction. (ANI)