MIT is well known for its revolutionary inventions for mankind. Recently MIT engineers and scientists have created an autonomous soft robot “SoFi“, the most advanced robotic fish of mankind that can swim just like a real fish. From a long time, scientists are racing to study marine life in detail. Scuba-diving humans don’t exactly blend in with aquatic life as this make it hard to watch some creatures up-close, this SoFi could act as marine biologists’ unobtrusive eyes and ears.
“When we were designing the robot, we tried to make sure that it’s moving to conserve the life we’re trying to observe,” says co-author Joseph DelPreto.
According to MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, “SoFi” can dive at a depth of 60 feet alongside a real fish to explore aquatic life. Moreover, it has enough power to last upto 40 minutes and capable of controlling its own buoyancy. This new robotic autonomous fish with blend with its surroundings and get closer to sea life than existing autonomous underwater vehicles. Also the device is equipped with a high-resolution camera that will help the observation of sea life more superior.
“There will be a revolution in some fields with soft robots,” says SoFi’s co-creator Robert Katzschmann, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab. “It may be for underwater locomotion, but also walking robots or grasping robots. This whole field will see changes.”
The Soft Robotic Fish is 18.5 inches long from snout to tail and weighs about 3.5 pounds. Two hydraulic pumps flex the tail and it makes the robot swims autonomously in all directions. Also It has an advantage, existing autonomous underwater vehicles needs to be tethered to a boat with a cable and have bulky propellers as that couldn’t be controlled remotely nor could they withstand dives more than three feet underwater. But this new version of “SoFi” has its advantage as it can be controlled using a waterproof Nintendo controller. Also it has a simpler and more lightweight set-up, with on-board sensors for perception, a servo motor and the same lithium battery found in smartphones. This robotic “fish” will help marine biologists monitor the health of marine habitats blending in with the fish teeming around the coral reefs without stressing out their aquatic denizens.