Robot News: MIT's New Robotic Underwater Savior
In recent news MIT announced they had created a brand new type of robot. The Soft Robotic Fish, aka SoFi, is a hypnotic machine that has the potential to be a powerful tool for scientists to study ocean life.
It has been described to be similar to a miniaturized Moby Dick. According to research its flexible tail that flicks back and forth is not made of muscle and scales, but elastomer.
Apparently scientists designed SoFi to tackle many of the problems that other oceanic robotics have yet to solve. Firstly it has been designed to facilitate communication. It's usually quite common that underwater vehicles are tethered to a boat. This is because radio waves are not an effective means of communication in water. This is where SoFi’s inventors decided to do things differently and instead opted for instead is sound.
“Radio frequency communication underwater just works for a few centimeters,” says MIT CSAIL roboticist Robert Katzschmann, lead author of the paper. “Acoustic signals in water can travel for much longer and with much less energy consumption.” Using sound, divers can pilot the robot fish from almost 70 feet away.
The second problem this project had to overcome was the issue of classical robot electric motors, known as actuators being clunky with movements that can only be described as stuttery.
SoFi belongs to a burgeoning class of “soft robots,” which are, well, generally soft, and use air or oil to locomote.
What impresses me so much is how natural and realistic the robotic fish's movements are. It is amazing how scientists have been able to imitate nature so closely and the benefits that can come from applications such as these.
Take a look at the video below to see what I'm talking about:
So what do you guys think about SoFi? How do you think scientists will use this new type of technology to fix humanity's problems? Please leave your thoughts and comments below!
Thanks for reading @technews
MIT Unleashes a Hypnotic Robot Fish to Help Save the Oceans - Wired