UAS Collects Whale Mucus to Measure Stress Levels


545_463802155 UAS Collects Whale Mucus to Measure Stress LevelsEngineering students in Needham, Mass., are coming up with an unmanned aerial system (UAS) that can assess the stress levels of whales through the creatures’ mucus output.

According to an article from the Boston Globe, students from the Olin College of Engineering have been developing for years what they call the “Snot Bot,” a small UAS that can fly at varying elevations near whales and collect mucus from the blowholes – a sign of distress for the animal.

Working with local conservation group Ocean Alliance, the team has tested the device – which would run at around $3,000 – on a synthetic, sensor-equipped whale and has hopes of further developing the aircraft, such as making the flights more autonomous and easier to control.

The team’s goal, according to the report, is to help researchers determine what levels of noise and commotion can bring stress to whales – and, eventually, get Federal Aviation Administration approval for marine researchers to incorporate the technology.

The full Boston Globe report can be found here.

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