Michigan State University scientists have come up with an improved design for the movement of an underwater robot, or as everyone loves to refer to it, robofish. Rather than focus on making the robot look or move like a fish, they focused on making it move in a way that spares battery life, allowing it to stay in the water longer to collect data on water quality.
MSU reports, "MSU scientists have made a number of improvements on the fish, including the ability to glide long distances, which is the most important change to date. The fish now has the ability to glide through the water practically indefinitely, using little to no energy, while gathering valuable data that can aid in the cleaning of our lakes and rivers."
However, the downside of gliding, rather than swimming, is that forward progress is slow. So, the team made sure the robot could move both through gliding and locomotion, so that depending on the environment in which the device is being used, it has the ability to move with ease. When in a river with currents, the gliding motion will suffice, while when it is used in a calm lake, the movement of swimming will come in handy.
The robot, named Grace, had been tested in the Kalamazoo River and has performed with flying colors.