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Robo-Fish Swim Just Like the Real Thing

It's good to hear that engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are starting to spend some time outside every once in a while. Pablo Alvarado, a mechanical engineer, and his colleagues at that prestigious university must have done so in developing their latest project: the robo-fish.

Between five and eight inches long, the prototypes are comprised of a mere 10 movable parts and covered with a highly flexible, water- and heat-resistant polymer. Modeled to swim (check out a video after the break) like their aquatic inspirations, the robots can apparently accurately imitate the movements of freshwater bass, trout and tuna. While so specifically mirroring natural movements might seem like a gimmick, Alvarado and his associates are actually delving into biomimicry, which hinges on the idea that -- in many cases -- nature's design is the best one.

In this case, a more biologically accurate design would potentially increase the maneuverability and speed of the robot. Alvarado told Wired that, though the fish are not yet completed (They only swim at 10-percent of an actual fish's speed, and still rely on wired power.), the refined design could eventually assist the Navy by conducting underwater reconnaissance, or construction, utility and oil companies by inspecting subaqueous pipelines. Now, if only they were any good deep-fried with hot sauce... [From: Wired]

Robot Fish

Tags: biology, biomimicry, fish, mit, nature, robot, science, top



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