Maurizio Porfiri's robotic fish: ©NYU Poly
Wouldn't it be great if robots could lead fish and other wildlife away
from the Gulf oil spill before they got a drop of oil on them? A
mechanical engineering professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New
York University has a dream that his robot fish can do that and much
Maurizio Porfiri's robots are remote-controlled biomimicked
fish developed to lead schools of fish. Though his ultimate intention
is to use the robot fish to lead real fish out of harms way, like away
from power turbines, and to lead flocking birds to new wintering
grounds, and even to lead humans to safety when a fire breaks out...
his robot fish's first assignment was to lead bait fish in a fish
tank. Biomimicking real bait fish leaders, the robotic fish beat their
tails faster, milled about, and sped up to get attention.... Soon, they
had a following.
Dr. Porfiri will need to model his robots
after each species separately, as their leaders have different
qualities. His research group studies fish leader formation,
intelligence, computing capacity, and the ways they avoid predators.
This research will also find application in autonomous vehicle teams
like submarines, airplanes and ground vehicles.
propulsion systems that are developed by biomimicking various fish have
led Dr. Porfiri to research energy harvesting in aquatic environments
using ionic polymers so the robots can eventually run on energy from
eddies and small vibrations under water.
And if saving wildlife
from mass death or extinction is not enough of a goal, Dr. Porfini has
learned how to develop artificial muscles that would be powered by
electromagnetic waves from his robotic fish studies.
It looks like one robotic fish leads to another, and another, and... another.
NYU Poly via Inhabitat