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Whalecro is an underwater propulsion vehicle with an all-new microdebris filtering system which efficiently captures microdebris in the ocean by using Velcro strap.

  • Product showcase with user in eco-tourism

  • This video helps in conveying the cause and the goal we want to achieve.

    This video helps in conveying the cause and the goal we want to achieve.

  • Exterior of Whalecro

  • All-new microdebris filtering system in Whalecro

  • How we clean microdebris filtering system after being used

  • Prototype of microdebris filtering system done with LEGO technic, motors, PVC and container

What it does

Whalecro is an underwater propulsion vehicle targeted for eco-tourism market. It aims to create awareness of microdebris pollution in the ocean while creating a sense of direct involvement in the process.​

Your inspiration

Microdebris in the ocean is a growing problem with their widespread presence becoming more apparent by the day. Research shows there are now trillions of microplastic particles in the marine environment and yet people are barely aware of their existence. This poses an issue as traces of these debris are found in the meals, we consume with an estimate of more than 100+ microplastic per meal. Therefore, we would like to raise awareness of ocean pollution through eco-tourism. “People will always forget what you say but they will never forget how you make them feel.”

How it works

As the vehicle accelerates forward, water current will flow in the opposite direction of the vehicle. As a result, surrounding microdebris will be pulled into the vehicle with the aid of current where it passes through a series of motor-powered filters. The rotating filters will then capture all microdebris as water current flows through it. The design of the filter is made of Velcro strap – a commonly used material with a hook-like surface. This hook-like surface will cause microdebris to latch onto it, therefore, trapping them in the process. Then, the filtered ocean water will be guided towards the output of the vehicle based on fluid dynamics. Our filter design is bio-inspired – based on the Whale Shark feeding mechanism. A specially designed device is used to extract microdebris trapped on the filters where it can be easily brushed off and disposed accordingly.

Design process

Several solutions have been proposed and experimented to determine the efficiency of capturing microdebris. Based on its highest efficiency, we have finalized the Velcro strap solution as the microdebris capturing mechanism in our product. ​ We started experimenting with the best design to maximize the efficiency of this microdebris capturing mechanism by testing them on one of the Malacca beaches with different designs and shapes. From there, we are able to conclude the best shape and design to start off the prototype building. The first prototype was built successfully using LEGO technic and other materials such as PVC, plastic containers, etc. To maximize the efficiency of the mechanism, some refinement and enhancement using motor were carried out to enable the automation. ​

How it is different

The state of plastic waste we are targeting is unique. Most approaches challenging plastic in the ocean, are aiming at its original state – bottles, plastic bags etc. However, we are challenging plastic in the form of microdebris. Although current solutions are working, the difference lies in the effectiveness of raising awareness. Therefore, being a product that revolves around inclusivity could generate more awareness thus setting us apart where we create a sense of direct involvement within our products. ​ In addition to that, our products come in multiple lines of products each catering for users from different backgrounds – age, hobbies etc. In the end of the day, each of our products will be able to portray how common microdebris waste can be found in our source of life.

Future plans

Emphasis will be placed on further increasing the efficiency of the product by experimenting with different sizes or surface designs of Velcro straps. In addition to that, we will be exploring other applications of this concept to solve more real-world problems. However, it is also important to dive into the possibilities of having this technology certified & patent. ​ With a lineup of various products, raising more awareness of the manifestation of plastic pollution in our ocean is possible with hopes of one-day achieving ocean sustainability.


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