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NUS develops robot fish with autonomous 3D movement

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:autonomous underwater vehicle? 2D?

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore's (NUS) department of electrical & computer engineering has created a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp. According to them, the robot is essentially an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and is ready for applications, as it can be programmed to perform specific functions for underwater archaeology such as exploring nooks and corners of wreckage and other applications that include military activities, pipeline leakage detection and the laying of communication cable.

The team includes professor Xu Jianxin, Fan Lupeng, graduating Electrical Engineering student and research fellow, Ren Qinyuan. Fan worked on the project for his final year that won the High Achievement Award at the Faculty's 27th Innovation and Research Award. It will also be featured at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Tokyo on 3-7 November 2013.

"Currently, robot fish capable of 2D movements are common, meaning that these models are not able to dive into the water. Our model is capable of 3D movements as it can dive and float, using its fins like a real fish," said Xu. "Compared to traditional AUVs, they are certainly more mobile, with greater manoeuvrability. If used for military purpose, fish robots would definitely be more difficult to detect by the enemy."

Fish robots are also quieter and consume less energy, compared to traditional AUVs. Said Fan who studied the movements of real life carps for three months, in order to develop their robot, "We chose to study carps because most fish swim like them. There is no literature at all on designing a mathematical model on the locomotion of fish and so we had to start from scratch. We used a camera to capture all the possible movements of a carp and then converted the data mathematically so that we could transfer the locomotion of real carp to our robot using different actuators."

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