Robot Fish Now With Autonomous 3D Swimming

This robot fish is able to fully mimic the three-dimensional movements of the carp. For the first time, a robotic fish can move realistically in three-dimensions autonomously.


(Robot fish first in 3D autonomous movement)

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering has developed a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp. This robot which is essentially an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is ready for applications, as it can be programmed to perform specific functions, for example, for underwater archaeology such as exploring nooks and corners of wreckage -- or sunken city which are difficult for divers or traditional AUVs to access. Other applications include military activities, pipeline leakage detection, and the laying of communication cable.

Said Prof Xu, “Currently, robot fish capable of 2-D movements are common, meaning that these models are not able to dive into the water. Our model is capable of 3-D movements as it can dive and float, using its fins like a real fish. Compared to traditional AUVs, they are certainly more mobile, with greater manoeuvrability. If used for military purpose, fish robots would definitely be more difficult to detect by the enemy.”

Fish robots are also quieter and consume less energy, compared to traditional AUVs. Said Mr Fan who studied the movements of real life carps for three months, in order to develop their robot, “We chose to study carps because most fish swim like them. There is no literature at all on designing a mathematical model on the locomotion of fish and so we had to start from scratch. We used a camera to capture all the possible movements of a carp and then converted the data mathematically so that we could transfer the locomotion of real carp to our robot using different actuators.”

In his 2002 story Slow Life, science fiction author Michael Swanwick writes about robot fish who help explore distant worlds:

The Mitsubishi turbot wriggled, as if alive. With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone. Lizzie switched over to the fishcam.

Black liquid flashed past the turbot’s infrared eyes.

Straight away from the shore it swam, seeing nothing but flecks of paraffin, ice, and other suspended particulates...
(Read more about the Mitsubishi turbofish)

From National University of Singapore via Kurzweil AI.

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