How the Gulf oil spill can be cleaned in just one month

Clean up the Gulf in just one month, you say? A claim like that would normally have us rolling our eyes, save for the fact that we heard two magic words: "MIT" and "robots." Lots and lots of robots, all soaking up oil using a special technique.

MIT calls its proposed legion the Seaswarm, an extension of the university's cooperative Swarm robots. As you'd expect, the Seaswarm involves a mass of 'bots working together using wireless communication and GPS, though right now the name implies to one prototype robot that's 16 feet long and seven wide.

The cleanup portion comes into play thanks to a highly absorbent conveyor-belt-looking attachment the Seaswarm drags behind it, which can absorb 20 times its weight in oil and actually repels water, so it won't waste time sucking that up. A collection of 'bots based on the Seaswarm prototype could work tirelessly soaking up oil from the Gulf, requiring little more maintenance than tending to their attachments.

Check out a video of the Seaswarm in action down below.

MIT, via Inhabitat

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