MIT Designs Robotic Fish Programmed To Observe Aquatic Life

Kin CheungAP Images

One of the biggest challenges for those studying marine biology and similar sciences is that they are unable to truly see what activity takes place under the water, with their only evidence coming from underwater cameras and suchlike devices. As of this past Wednesday, March 21, however, these scientists’ troubles were set at ease thanks to the world’s first robotic fish being put into operation at the hands of MIT scientists.

As revealed by The Los Angeles Times, news of this groundbreaking experiment first broke via the magazine Science Robotics, with their article explaining the logistics behind the robotic fish in question and giving detail to exactly just what it does under the water that humans cannot. The main advantage point is, of course, that this technology is able to monitor the movements and habits of underwater creatures in a way that that is incomparable with living people, due to them not being able to spend such a significant amount of time underwater compared to those creatures in marine life.

This robotic fish, the first of its kind to be tested within the realms of the aquatic community, swims alongside other undersea creatures in order to monitor their movements and in turn send these results to those scientists documenting such research, with the head researchers at MIT being front and center of this experiment. This fish spends extended periods of time contending with the pressures and currents of a real ocean, swimming alongside actual fish in order for the creatures to believe that the robot is truly one of them, thus displaying their common habits and lifestyles with no hesitation.

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This particular brand of Ichthyology has seen the navigation of a coral reef of Fiji executed in three separate dimensions, with the driver controlling his direction with what has been described as an apparatus that “looks like a Nintendo controller.” MIT’s director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Daniela Rus, gave a statement in which she referred to the newly executed experiment as “magical,” going on to say that heads of the technical institution have hopes that the positive results from the robotic fish experiment will allow for the continuation of researchers to discover more about marine life and lead to scientists having the ability to truly give the public an insight into what the undersea world is really like.