Yesterday's article about Robotic Fish being implemented to monitor ocean pollution was one of my more popular posts. Today's article is about another research team developing robotic fish for a different purpose...
Maurizio Porfiri, a researcher at New York University, Polytechnic Institute, has created a robotic fish that is intended to lead real schools of fish out of danger; like an oil leak, or hazardous waste.
Fish are known for their keen visual awareness of movement, and scientists have used this information to learn what makes a leader in a school of fish. Observation has lead scientists to believe that leaders beat their tails faster, swimming around energetically to gain the attention of its peers. This visual display represents the information signalling whether fish should school, migrate or disperse.
Porfiri spent a lot of time considering how to make the fish swim silently and move in "smooth-yet-jerky" movements like real fish. The second hardest obstacle Porfiri has to overcome is the battery-life of his robotic fish. He hopes soon the fish will harness the energy of eddies and vibrations in the water.
Not only does this technology have the potential to help save fish from swimming into ecological disasters like oil spills or hazardous run-off, but also from newly increasing underwater turbine technology. Lastly, it may have the potential to shepherd fish across the ocean, much like sheep dogs; creating the possible potential of free-range fish like cattle?