Recovering from an oil disaster isn't just horrific to endure — it's massively difficult and massively expensive to soak it all up. But what if we didn't need an army of oil-wiping humans? What about cleaning boats that sail themselves?
Motherboard follows Cesar Harada, formerly of MIT, who left the university after the petroleum nightmare of BP. His solution to the awfully inefficient cleanup? Protei, a self-sailing, oil-skimming drone. It's tough enough to withstand waves, its smart sails flatten when wind gets too brisk, all while trawling oil-absorbant sponges to slurp up (literal) tons of oil. The plan? Deploy fleets of them, working as an intelligent swarm. Protei is still in the prototyping process, but moving at a pace that could spare human risk and environmental destruction the next time a pipe bursts. [Motherboard]