Washington: Researchers from the National University of Singapore`s (NUS) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp.
This robot which is essentially an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is ready for applications, as it can be programmed to perform specific functions, for example, for underwater archaeology such as exploring nooks and corners of wreckage-or sunken city which are difficult for divers or traditional AUVs to access.
Other applications include military activities, pipeline leakage detection, and the laying of communication cable.
The team comprises Professor Xu Jianxin, Mr Fan Lupeng, graduating Electrical Engineering student and Research Fellow, Dr Ren Qinyuan.
"Currently, robot fish capable of 2-D movements are common, meaning that these models are not able to dive into the water. Our model is capable of 3-D movements as it can dive and float, using its fins like a real fish. Compared to traditional AUVs, they are certainly more mobile, with greater manoeuvrability. If used for military purpose, fish robots would definitely be more difficult to detect by the enemy," Prof Jianxin said.
The team has constructed two fish robots. The larger prototype is about one and half metres in length, weighing about 10kg and it can dive to a depth of 1.8 metres.
The smaller robot is about 60 centimetres long and weighs a mere 1.5kg.
It is developed for investigation on 2D motion control and motion planning in a small place, and it can only swim at water surface.