For the environmental project Ocean Cleanup will create an infrared plastic scanner

<pre>For the environmental project Ocean Cleanup will create an infrared plastic scanner

The Ocean Cleanup ocean collection system is currently undergoing final testing in real conditions. And very soon it will start working fully, almost offline. This is somewhat confusing for engineers who are engaged in the further development of the project, as they face the task of teaching this extraordinary robot to navigate the ocean in search of garbage. everything will change. There will come a time when the largest and dense pockets of debris will be removed, and new robots will have to scour the whole ocean in search of small clusters. The problem of how to find them, faced the researchers in full growth a few years ago, at the stage of measuring the size and position of the Great Pacific Garbage Spot.

The human eye and lidar easily confuse pieces of plastic with glare of the sun, wood fragments and other debris, a simple survey of the territory from the air gives little. In order not to waste resources and time, it is necessary to collect plastic first of all, other garbage is less harmful for nature. But how to distinguish one from the other with a remote evaluation of the front of work? They found a way out at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, where they suggested searching for plastic using a short-wave infrared scanner – this material is clearly visible in its light.

However, it is one thing to look at plastic in the laboratory – and quite another to scan in its search for a real stormy ocean. So far, the percentage of errors in the recognition of plastic among general debris is depressingly high, the technology needs to be improved, with the involvement of neural networks and artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy of working with fragmented data. However, in the future, infrared scanners can become an all-seeing eye for future ocean scavengers in their plastic hunt.

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