We have seen all sorts of robots developed lately. Some make our tasks simpler, others make dangerous tasks safer. I am sure everyone is already aware of the oil spill that has caused so much damage to the environment and has killed so many of the animals (birds and fish) living in the vicinity of the affected areas.
There are studies now being conducted by Maurizio Porfiri, the assistant professor of mechanical engineering at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute. He is hoping to create a mechanical robot type of fish that will enable living creatures to follow it, thus leading them to safety. The researchers are not only considering allowing the robot fish to lead schools of fish to safer areas, but also birds. They can all be led far away from the turbines of power plants, or like in the case of the BP oil spill, lead them to safety without physical human intervention.
Fish leaders, according to published reports and Porfiri’s observations, beat their tails faster, mill about, and accelerate to gain attention, gather a school, and lead it. Using a shallow, donut-shaped tank and cameras, researchers began a mathematical journey into fish schooling in one-dimensional environments. They recently reported their results from this study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. I’m glad that technology is also being used to allow us to save our precious resources. I’ve included a video below that describes how a robot fish operates.