Sawfish Underwater Lumberjack Robot

Sawfish is a real-life robotic underwater lumberjack; it swims down to harvest trees that are now underwater due to flooding to create reservoirs.


(Sawfish underwater lumberjack robot)

The Triton Sawfish™ Underwater Harvester is the world's first viable marine technology for logging underwater forests. It is the only deep water logging machine. Piloted and powered remotely, it has eight video cameras as well as sonar to fully inform the remote operator.


(Sawfish harvester details)

Because water buoyancy helps, it can handle larger trees than land-based mechanical harvesters. It carries from 37-50 reusable inflatable bags to float trees to the surface for recovery and processing (one bag per tree). A 55" electric chain saw is used to perform the cutting.

The Sawfish even uses biodegradable vegetable oil for its hydraulic system. The Sawfish has received awards like Building Green's Top Ten Green Building Products, because it can reach this otherwise lost resource. It is estimated that there are over five billion linear board feet of usable timber submerged in British Columbia's lakes and reservoirs alone (that in turn being less than 5% of underwater lumber worldwide). It has also been certified by the Rainforest Alliance in its underwater logging/salvaging techniques.

Surprisingly, the wood harvested from underwater sources sells for a bit more than wood taken from dry land. That's because it is technically "old-growth timber" and is denser and more stable than the lumber from tree farms.

Underwater technology has made great strides; take a look at these prototypes:

Read more about the Triton underwater harvester.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/6/2006)

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