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Absorbent robots could prove vital in next oil spill clean up

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Researchers at MIT have developed independent robots that use a revolutionary nanomaterial to absorb considerable amounts of oil - up to 20 times their weight.

Here's a video that's quite timely given the Mariner Energy oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers at MIT have developed independent robots that use a revolutionary nanomaterial to absorb considerable amounts of oil - up to 20 times their weight. Powered by solar panels, the low-cost robots which are designed to work in fleets, would use GPS and wireless communication systems to navigate a spill site.

[video=462376]

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure