Swiss University Students develop Underwater Robot with fish-like fins

January 14, 2015 - via ETH Zurich

Swiss university students have created an underwater robot which imitates the movements of a cuttlefish. Known as Sepios or 'cuttlefish robot', it is capable of diving through an underwater forest in the same manner as that of cuttlefish.

It swims through the water using four large undulating fins which are capable of rapidly propelling it in any direction. The robot was inspired by the cuttlefish, which is known for its intelligence and chameleon-like ability to change color. Sepios is about 28 inches long with a wingspan of around 37 inches. It can move through the water at a speed of approximately a mile per hour.

Since the swimming action of the cuttlefish is efficient and swift, the robot too, will be able to gain such qualities when it applies similar design cues.

According to New Scientist, this propulsion system has the ability to move through sea grass or other underwater obstacles without becoming entangled.

Students on the Sepios project website said, "These qualities combined with its fishlike appearance and low disturbance are ideal for closing in on fish, making it the ideal device for marine life filming".

Furthermore, it hardly endangers sea life with noise and spinning rotor blades. The investors in the robot project are hopeful that this creature will inspire a new generation of super-quiet boats which dispense with deafening propellers.

Whales and dolphins get stressed by the sound of propellers. There is a possibility for them to get injured when they stray too close to boats.

According to robotic researchers, the ability to replicate walking and swimming in robots can create technologies, which are capable of venturing into inaccessible places.

The RoboFish is the work of Pascal Buholzer and fellow students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.

IEEE Spectrum article: Sepios: ETH Zurich's Robot Cuttlefish

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Author:Jeanne Rife

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