Aquatic Robotics

Robot Finds Gold on Robinson Crusoe Island

Posted 26 Sep 2005 at 20:54 UTC by steve Share This

Early in the 18th Century, Spanish sailors buried gold and jewels from South America in the Juan Fernández archipelago off Chile. Earlier, a Scottish sailor was marooned on one of the same islands for four years and became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Now, 300 years later, a robot named Arturito has located the Spanish treasure 15 meters beneath the surface of one of the islands. The robot is able to look beneath the ground with ground penetrating radar (GPR or GeoRadar). Arturito has been called upon in the past to locate buried weapons and subsurface structures. According to one researcher, Arturito requires both a human operator and a human to interpret the sensor data making it "more of a mobile sensing platform than a robot". The robot is named after R2-D2, which is commonly called Arturito in Spanish because of the similarity in sound to the English name "Artoo-Detoo". Some estimates suggest the treasure may be worth as much as 10 billion dollars today. Not surpisingly, there is already a dispute over who owns the treasure. For more see the recent New Scientist article or BBC article. A photo of Arturito can be found in a La Cuarta article from earlier this year and in a more recent article.

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