New Robot Fish Swims Like the Real Thing

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Robot fish could one day be enlisted for undercover science missions.

A soft-bodied robot that looks and swims like a fish was unveiled by researchers at MIT this week; they say something like it might be able to infiltrate schools of real fish and gather data about their behavior.

The autonomous robot swishes side-to-side underwater as different parts of its body are inflated and deflated with a fluid stored as a gas onboard, the creators explained in a video. The result is a flexible robofish can execute escape maneuvers just as quickly as a real fish can — turning its body in a mere 100 milliseconds.

For years roboticists have been working on durable, flexible bots that mimic other squishy creatures, such as earthwormlike robots that could survive blows from a hammer and octopus-inspired bots that could squeeze into small places for exploration or search-and-rescue operations. 

The newly revealed robot belongs to a long line of fish-inspired creations, including RoboTuna, an underwater automaton with 2,843 parts controlled by six motors that came out of MIT in 1994.

Since the new fish robot is self-contained, it does need some hard parts inside its soft body. The "brains" of the fish, or all of its rigid pieces of hardware, are stored at the head, while the robot's lower half and tail are more pliable, the researchers explained. The team used a 3D printer to make the molds for casting the fish's silicone rubber parts.

Written By: Megan Gannon
continue to source article at livescience.com

4 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

      Why did the military implications of this device jump right into my mind?

      The fact that you thought that and I thought of the commercial opportunities this opens up in the sex toy industry probably says something fundamental about both of us.

      • In reply to #2 by headswapboy:

        In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

        Why did the military implications of this device jump right into my mind?

        The fact that you thought that and I thought of the commercial opportunities this opens up in the sex toy industry probably says something fundamental about both of us.

        Perhaps too much!!

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