Researchers create robotic fish that can swim underwater on its own

Researchers create robotic fish that can swim underwater on its own

It is meant to swim normally close by other fish in untamed water and keep an eye on them without raising doubts or irritating their common environment.

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a soft robotic fish named "SoFi", created to replicate the movements of a harmless fish so it can independently swim alongside sea life without setting off any alarm bells.

The un-fastened robot can utilize its camera to record practices of anything from sharks and whales to schools of modest damselfish.

"We view SoFi as a first step toward developing nearly an underwater observatory of sorts", says CSAIL director and co-author Daniela Rus. "[It] will give us a superior comprehension of submerged marvels". He's also lead author of a paper on SoFi published Wednesday in Science Robotics.

The researchers have taken the 18-inch-long faux fish for test swims in Fiji's Rainbow Reef, where it swam for up to 40 minutes in 50 feet of water.

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So far, SoFi doesn't appear to disturb the movements of other fish. It can be piloted with a waterproof remote control that uses ultrasonic signals and is based on an after-market video game controller. As per Rus, it moves with an "elegance, readiness and freedom" - not what you'd anticipate from a swimming robot.

In addition to the balloon chambers, SoFi features flexible plastic and silicone rubber for its back half, as well as a 3D-printed head and other components. The quiet motor-powered tail lets it mimic the quick-changing swimming patterns and movements of real fish. Furthermore, it touts sensors to enable it to abstain from hitting or harming marine situations like fragile reefs.

According to Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and leader of the work, the research has the potential to change the way we approach studying aquatic life moving into the future. A buoyancy method involving oil-filled chambers inside the fish allows it to be propelled up and down as well.

From here, the team wants to continue improving SoFi, affording it more speed through the water and even enable it to follow real fish automatically.

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