Mechanical engineering students challenged themselves to make a realistic robotic fish that not only swims like a real fish, but looks similar too! SCI-FI BOT was created by two teams of AME engineerign students to mimic the look and appearance using soft body, common electronic components and 3d printed parts.
The team used 3d printed molds that they filled with silicone— flexible and stretchable—to create the fish’s outer body. They later enhanced this “skin” with paint to replicate the color and scales expected in a Goldfish. and the total price cost was less than 200$ !
“From a research perspective, the more closely you can replicate the fish, the better we can learn about how fish swim—gaining understanding of their efficiencies. How do they conserve energy or deal with the current? We can use this to help us design underwater vehicles,” said Gupta.
The movement are mimicked from an actual fishing model. Servo Motors together with sensors allows precise control of positioning and Servo motors were placed to perform like real muscles.
We need to overcome challenges ranging from software design, electrical circuits, mechanical design and aesthetics. All of this plus the fish has to work under water.
A robotic fish could be used to study marine life without disturbing marine life with it’s presence. Soft robots are safer and easier to maneuver than hard robots. At the same time, they have a closer likeness to animal bodies.
“It’s unobtrusive, so it’s easier to get a natural look at what is going on in the ocean,” said Parekh.