On June 17th 2021, in a Regional Agency DUNEA and University of Dubrovnik collaboration, a manifestation called "BLUE EVENT" has been held, where three EU projects were presented: MARLESS, BLUEfasma and SeaClear. These three projects are funded through three different programs, and the link is the topic of blue growth - marine environment as driver of sustainable development, focusing on the circular economy and the problem of marine litter, with goals that include innovative environmental solutions in marine litter monitoring, collection and management.

Tags: events

Read more: BLUE EVENT: Community of practise formation

To accelearate the pace of our developments, and to increase the chances of success during testing, our partners from TUM are working on creating digital twins of the test sites. This is especially relevant in the context of the ongoing CoVID-19 pandemic, which makes travelling difficult which lowers the opportunities for actual testing. In collaboration with HPA, they have created a digital twin for one of our test sites in the Port of Hamburg. Two views of the Petroleum port digital twin

Tags: test sites

Read more: Digital twin of the Petroleum port in Hamburg

The team at TUM - ITR has developed a prototype of the gripper device for SeaClear. This version is decidedly simple for robust operation under harsh conditions and will provide a baseline for comparing its efficiency to upgrades with suction capabilities and other advanced features. In this video a KUKA iiwa robot is used to simulate the motion of the underwater vehicle the skid and gripper will be attached to. The versatility and robustness of the gripper design is shown by collecting various objects of different shapes and material, from stiff but deformed cans to flexible nets or piles of objects.

Tags: video, equipment

Read more: SeaClear gripper grabs first litter

A few days ago, SeaClear was featured on the frontpage of homePort, "...a maritime real laboratory and makerspace for the port of the future ...". Claudia Hertel-ten Eikelder, project responsible of partner HPA (Hamburg Port Authority), answered questions regarding the objectives and methods of the project, together with our current progress and future steps. You can read the whole interview on the homePort website, together with a project page outlining the most important information about SeaClear

Tags: media

Read more: SeaClear featured at homePORT

Today, as part of World Water Day, we are publishing the official animation of the project! This explains in a graphical way the objectives of SeaClear and how we are planning to achieve them. You can appreciate the way the robots are expected to interact with each other and their individual role in the system, together with the importance and the impact of our proposed solution.

Tags: presentation, video

Read more: SeaClear animation

After evaluating a first functional prototype, the SeaClear gripper goes into manufacturing to produce a rugged, waterproof version for our trials. This device is designed and implemented by our partners at TUM. This version is decidedly simple for robust operation under harsh conditions and will provide a baseline for comparing its efficiency to upgrades with suction capabilities and other advanced features.
Render of the tortuga ROV with the gripper
Render of the tortuga ROV with the gripper. The gripper in the fully open and closed position is visible

Tags: equipment

Read more: Gripper prototype goes into manufacturing

As the SeaClear project progresses, Fraunhofer CML has been busy with the design and development of the collection basket for the autonomous system. The basket is designated to aggregate collected litter and ensure a safe transport out of the water and later on to shore, at the end of each mission. A modular prototype was built that allows for experiments with different wall materials, ROV-to-Basket docking areas, and Gripper-to-Basket interfaces.

Lateral view of the basket prototype
Prototype basket configuration with mesh-structure walls and elastomer lip interface

Tags: video, underwater, equipment

Read more: Collection Basket Prototype is ready

The youtube channel Breaking Lab has recently featured the SeaClear project in one of their episodes. Breaking lab is a channel that tries to explain complex scientific concepts to the general public. Jacob Beautemps and his team compiled a video that outlines the problem of plastics in the Ocean, the difficulty of cleaning it up with divers, and what are the advantages of using robotic solutions, before presenting the SeaClear concept.
Below you can watch the episode (in German)

Read more: Breaking Lab features SeaClear

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 871295.

The SEACLEAR project spans four years, running from January 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2023.

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