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William B. Fox Archive

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Developing the
Seaswarm Concept

an email
by William B. Fox

November 10, 2010

William B. Fox

Dear [Seaswarm Representative]

It was a pleasure to speak with you earlier today about MIT's Seaswarm concept.
In regard to some background on myself, my author archive at: at my flagship web site lists my 2005 ebook titled "I, Robot Entrepreneur" and some articles that I wrote about robotics and the mining industry. I provide links to these works in Appendix A below.
My section titled "Enhancing the Problem Solving, Testing, and Analysis Process" in my BP-Gulf Catastrophe "intelligence summary" web page at devotes considerable space to various mobile robotic approaches that can help diagnose, contain, and even clean up the BP-Gulf Catastrophe.
As we discussed, one important issue is the cost of producing the nanofibers described at: The following extract is encouraging:

...Jing Kong, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and one of Stellacci's colleagues on the work ...noted that it could also be inexpensive to produce because the nanowires of which it is composed can be fabricated in larger quantities than other nanomaterials.

Another issue is the extent to which the fibers could be used for deep underwater clean-up. As one example, robot subs could transport nanofiber into deep water areas, and then through some process that involves heating or squeezing out hydrocarbons from the nanofiber into a collection area in order to make the nanofiber endlessly reusable, the hydrocarbons could then be transferred from the collection area via a pipeline extending from along the ocean floor to an inland oil processing center. This would probably be vastly more efficient than simply running a pipeline out to sea, in which case it would be necessary to pump seawater from the deep ocean back to the inland processing center, where hydrocarbons would then be separated from the seawater.
As an alternative to submarine mobility, it may also be possible to place large porous nets consisting of nanofiber in the path of ocean currents, so that as the currents sweep through the nets, the hydrocarbons accumulate in the netting, and then robot submarines might continually collect the hydrocarbons off the nets and deposit them in a collection area connected to a pipeline These nets might actually float at various depths like underwater sails and drift about the Gulf with the currents. The collection areas might be connected to long flexible pipes that transport liquefied hydrocarbons to surface vessels.
You can find professional background on myself at: At this point I am interested in the business development challenges involved with manufacturing and developing the nanofiber. Certainly one key question is whether or not use of the nanofibers to extract hydrocarbons can become a profitable venture.
It appreciate your time. It was a pleasure to share ideas with you, and I look forward to staying in touch.

Best regards,

Bill Fox

Freelance journalist,
Publisher, America First Books,
President, America First Institute
PO Box 137
Sarver, PA 16055
Phone: 832-426-2441


I, Robot Entrepreneur .
About an industry virtually guaranteed to become a Next New Thing. Originally posted Feb 2005, DARPA race update 9 Oct 2005.
Part 1:.. Futuristic Glimpse/Expected Growth Trend
Part 2:.. An Industry at an Inflection Point?
Part 3:.. Modular Frontiers
Part 4: . Where and How Do We Make Money?
Part 5 . ..Robo Political Economy
Part 6 . ..Robo Supremacism, Integration, or Something Else?

"Mining and Robotics: An Introduction" dated Dec 10, 2004. Background article for the presentation made at the Northwest Mining Association's 110th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Spokane, Washington.

"Mining and Robotics: A Next New Thing Joins the Commodities Bull Market" (PowerPoint file). Presentation made December 10, 2004 during the New Technologies in Exploration & Operations Technical Session of the Northwest Mining Association Annual Meeting and Exposition.

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