Biomimetic Robotic Fish Boosts Submersible Efficiency for Studying Ocean Life, Pollution


Photo Credit: Nic Delves-Broughton/University of Bath via CNET

A clever design for a submersible "fish" mimics the wave-like movement of freshwater knifefish. We've seen robotic fish that try to mimic the movement of fish, but nothing quite like this one. Its creators at the U.K.'s University of Bath call it Gymnobot. The prototype could lead to more energy efficient submersibles for ocean exploration.According to the researchers, the robot is propelled by a fin that runs the length of the underside of its rigid body, undulating in the same way as an Amazonian knifefish to make a wave in the water. The unique method of propulsion is thought to be more energy efficient than conventional propellers. In addition, it would allow the robot to navigate shallow water.

Thanks to this propulsion system, the Gymnobot could be used in shallow, rocky water where conventional submersible robots can't go to film and study the marine life near the seashore. It could also be used to detect and study ocean pollution.

Add another great idea to the list of concepts and devices inspired by nature.

Via CNET
More on Robotic Fish
Robo-Fish Ready to Get their Feet Wet... err, I should rather say, Fins (video)
Robotic Fish to Patrol Oceans for Pollution (Video)

Tags: Concepts & Prototypes | Electronics | Oceans