Robotic Fish Lure Schools to Safety

Imagine tossing out your cast net to scoop up some bait for a fine day of fishin', but along with minnows, you find a robot! An assistant professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University is developing robotic fish in order to help schools avoid oil spills, natural disasters, and manmade dangers. 

"Schooling fish have a rich system of information sharing," explains Dr. Maurizio Porfiri. "They decide when to school based on a wide variety of factors, including vision and pressure cues from other fish. By studying these cues, we can learn how school members recognize - and follow - a leader."

The robotic leader fish he has created so far don't resemble real fish, with their painted wooden appearance complete with craft-like eyes and eyebrows. However, their swim characteristics are very close to how actual fish move around in the water. So far, the robotic fish have been successful at influencing small schools' behaviors.

The next generation of Porfiri's fake fish are in development with help from his students. He often takes his classes to the New York Aquarium where they study fish movement and design new fins.


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Categories: Gadgets and Gizmos

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