Maurizio Porfiri, a professor at NYU Polytechnic University, is designing robotic fish that he hopes will be able to infiltrate schools of fish and lead them away from dangers, such as water turbines. He thinks that certain movements by fish establish them as school leaders and that he can mechanically duplicate these behaviors:
Since fish of different sizes and species school together, Porfiri correctly hypothesized that they would not only accept a robotic peer that was larger than themselves but also welcome it as a group leader.
To engage live shoal mates, Porfiri wanted to give the robot other fish qualities. Foremost, it would have to swim silently, and its locomotion would have to closely match that of live fish. To achieve these goals, he employed ionic polymers that swell and shrink in response to electrical stimulation from a battery, propelling the robot.
Link via Popular Science | Photo: NYU-Polytechnic | Previously on Neatorama: RoboSalmon Spies on Fish