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What Are Robot Fish?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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The robot fish is a research device that is shaped like a carp and designed for special underwater research, particularly research involving the measurement of pollution. Robot fish are made to swim like a fish, because this is the most efficient way to make an underwater model for extensive scouting and researching. Primarily, the robo-fish is made to measure pollution via internal sensors, and it has a wireless data transfer device that will send information to scientists. While the robot is made for extensive and long-term research, its battery lasts about eight hours. The robo-fish are not only made to look like fish, but also to emit limited sound, so the robot does not disturb underwater life.

Fish are very capable swimmers so, when scientists decided to make this underwater research unit, they decided a fish would be the best model. The robot fish requires very little energy to move, because it depends on the movement of the water and other fish to make the body undulate, creating momentum. Unlike submarines, which need a large amount of room to turn and slow down, the robo-fish can turn without slowing down and with limited room.

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The primary reason the robot fish exists is to measure pollution levels underwater. Pollution can be easily measured on the surface of the water, but the robo-fish will be able to supply advanced metrics on how the pollution affects water under the surface. To collect the information, the robo-fish uses sensors that are able to scan the water for pollution. After collecting data, the robo-fish can wirelessly transfer the information to scientists. Not only does this show scientists how pollution interacts underwater, but it also finds hidden pollution that cannot be found otherwise.

Robot fish are made for long-term research projects, but they cannot stay underwater all the time. The robo-fish needs power to move, to collect information and to transfer information. On average, the battery lasts about eight hours. The fish is programmed to dock and come to the surface when it needs to recharge, so it will not be lost in the water.

A challenge to collecting information underwater is making a device that has a limited impact on the underwater environment; the less impact, the better. To achieve this, the robot fish emits very little sound, so most creatures are not disturbed by its presence. This allows scientists to collect information naturally instead of information created under human influence.

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