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Robot carp with 3D movement created

27 Jun 2013
The team (Professor Xu Jianxin, Fan Lupeng and Dr Ren Qinyuan) with the robot fish. Credit: National University of Singapore

The team (Professor Xu Jianxin, Fan Lupeng and Dr Ren Qinyuan) with the robot fish. Credit: National University of Singapore

Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have developed a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp.

This robot can be programmed to perform specific functions, for example, for underwater archaeology such as exploring nooks and corners of a wreckage which is difficult for divers or traditional autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) to access.

Professor Xu Jianxin, a member of the research team, said, “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. Compared to traditional AUVs, they are certainly more mobile, with greater manoeuvrability.”

Fish robots are also quieter and consume less energy, compared to traditional AUVs. The researchers used a camera to capture all the possible movements of a carp and then converted the data mathematically so that they could transfer the locomotion of real carp to the robot using different actuators.

The team has constructed two fish robots. The larger prototype is about one and half metres in length, weighing about 10kg and it can dive to a depth of 1.8m. The smaller robot is about 60cm long and weighs a mere 1.5kg.

The team hopes to make their robot fish even smaller and more realistic and also to equip it with more sensors such as GPS and a video camera to improve autonomous 3D movement.

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The team (Professor Xu Jianxin, Fan Lupeng and Dr Ren Qinyuan) with the robot fish. Credit: National University of Singapore

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