Undersea robots adopt fish savvy behaviors

Scientists are using the biomechanics of undersea animals to build better robots. Biomedical engineer Malcolm MacIver showed off two robots inspired by natural movements.

Undulatory Locomotive Swimmer
This robot swims using the flexible fin on its underside. Each point of articulation is controlled by individual motors, allowing for precise movements. This enables much custom control of the robot, allowing researchers to get closer to delicate environments like coral reefs and deep sea wells. James Risley/MEDILL
Electrosensor Swimmer
This robot uses sensor pods (the white portions at either end) to generate a weak electrical field and monitors that field to determine its surroundings. This allows operators to maneuver the submersible in zero-visibility situations.
James Risley/MEDILL