ANIMAL ROBOTS: Marine Machines Made in Nature's Image

ANIMAL ROBOTS: Marine Machines Made in Nature's Image
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Charlie the Robo-Tuna (pictured)--arguably the world's first robo-fish--took its first swim at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994 after three years of development.

Designed to mimic real fish as closely as possible, Charlie was built with 40 ribs, tendons, and a segmented backbone with vertebrae--just a few of the fish's 2,843 parts and 6 motors.

Later iterations of MIT's fish reduced the moving parts necessary to replicate fishlike movement but remained authentically fishy--not always the main concern of robo-fish fabricators.

The University of Bath's Megill, creator of the Gymnobot (see first photo) said: "I'm on the other end of the spectrum, saying, I see how a fish works, and I appreciate that, but what I want is something that works like a propeller."
— Photograph courtesy Sam Ogden
 
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