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Robofish make waves in water

By Wang Fangqing     Aug 29, 2009 in Technology
They look like tuna or trout, but they are not. In fact, these little fish-shaped creature is robofish developed by a team of MIT's scientists.
Unlike their predecessors, the Robotuna which contains over 2000 parts launched in 1994, the 18 five-to-eight inch robofish only has 10 components, which significantly lower the cost to a few hundred dollars for each, reports Wired.
In addition of the advanced structure, the other huge improvement is the waterproof "skin".
Mechanical engineer Pablo Alvarado, who helped design the fish, said instead of putting all the parts together, they assembled the motor inside a special fish-shaped mold, then poured liquid polymer around the mold and let it solidify, a way effectively prevent the water infiltrating through the body and ruining the parts.
“Water can’t do much to them and they can survive very high temperatures. Unless another fish eats them, they could go on and on," he said.
The new model can only swim one body length per second, much slower than the real fish, which can swim up to 10 times of their body length, but the researchers said it's mush faster than the old models.
MIT's scientists are also studying other underwater creatures like robotic salamander and mantas, which will be tested in a few weeks.
Equipped with sensors or cameras, these robofish can be used to detect water pollution or explore the mystery underwater world.
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