Do androids dream of electric sashimi?
University of Virginia engineers and Harvard biologists built a robotic fish based on the high-performance swimming of tuna. Above, a visualization of the robot's motion data. Eventually, the Tunabot could be outfitted with a variety of sensors and wireless communication. From UVAToday:
The aim of (mechanical engineering professor Hilary) Bart-Smith's project is to better understand the physics of fish propulsion – research that could eventually inform development of the next generation of underwater vehicles, driven by fish-like systems better than propellers.
Underwater robots also are useful in a range of applications, such as defense, marine resources exploration, infrastructure inspection and recreation…
The eyeless, finless replica fish is roughly 10 inches long; the biological equivalent can get up to seven feet long. A fishing line tether keeps the robot steady, while a green laser light cuts across the midline of the plastic fish. The laser measures the fluid motion shed by the robot with each sweep of its fabricated tail. As the current of water in the flow tank speeds up, the Tunabot's tail and whole body move in a rapid bending pattern, similar to the way a live yellowfin tuna swims.