Wednesday 26 March 2014

Soft robotic fish that swims like a real fish

Soft robotic fish
MIT researchers have recently created a synthetic fish made from soft robotics technology. Based on bio mimicry, this flexible and autonomous robot is able to move almost as fast as any true aquatic vertebrate. The prototype was made of silicone printed in 3D, so that it can move with fluidity to withstand shocks and collisions with other fellow species of the ocean bed. It is fully autonomous, synthetic fish is provided with a shank comprising two sections.

In addition to making quick movements, it has great freedom in its movements. It also uses carbon dioxide to "breathe" underwater. Daniela Rus, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the MIT Computer artificial intelligence laboratory told that they are very proud of their flexible robot for a variety of reasons. With flexible robots, there is little danger of collision for the robot or the environment. But the new robotic fish was designed to explore another advantage of flexible robots. The body deforms continuously gives these machines an infinite range of configurations, and it is not possible with machines articulated according to Daniella.

Continuous curvature of the fish body flexes when it allows changing direction so quickly. Hence this robot rigid body can make continuous bending of its body. The robotic fish was built by Andrew Marchese, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from MIT. They explained that the evolved carbon dioxide from a canister in the abdomen of the fish results in the swelling of the duct and the bending of the tail.

Soft robotic fish
Each half of the tail of the fish has only two control parameters that is the diameter of the nozzle which releases gas in the channel and the time during which it remains open. In the experiments, Andrew found that the angle at which the fish changes direction is almost entirely determined by the duration of the inflation, while its speed is almost entirely determined by the nozzle diameter. This "decoupling" of the two parameters, he said, is something that biologists have observed real fish.

Fish can perform maneuvers 20 or 30 discharge, before exhausting the carbon dioxide cartridge. A new version of the fish, which must be able to swim continuously for about 30 minutes, will use carbon di oxide in the water instead of the carbon di oxide from the inflated channels, but otherwise it will use the same model design movements body than its predecessor.

Daniella plans to experiment the robot in the environment of real fish, to gather detailed information about their behavior in their natural environment information. According to Barry Trimmer, professor of biology at Tufts University, Their algorithms and control theory are almost designed with the idea that they have rigid systems and the principle of the soft robot is based on the certainty. Coping with uncertainty will still be able to control the machines, so we have much more powerful machines said the Professor. For now, the robotic fish is only a prototype but in the near future, it could be used in order to study these aquatic animals in their natural environment.

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