back to article Watch the MIT MER-BOT – half droid, half soft 'fish' – swim by itself

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have constructed a fish-like robot which they say will be more durable and safe for everyday use. Based on "soft" robotics technologies, the unit combines a computational system and power supply with a movement system based on a compressed gas pump and a series of tubes …

COMMENTS

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  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Can a head mounted laser be far behind?

    See title.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Can a head mounted laser be far behind?

      Definitely not far. It can now execute the "evasive action after successful attack" maneuvre.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Can a head mounted laser be far behind?

      Haven't a bit of trouble stabilizing the laser on target yet. The fishy motion is throwing the targeting scanners off a bit.

  2. frank ly

    " ... the robots could be embedded with schools of fish ..."

    Wouldn't the other fish think it was a bit .... fishy?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    100ms escape maneouvre

    What is it escaping from? A soft predator?

  4. paulc

    stupid...

    can't see it getting very far as they make no attempt to capture the "waste" stream from the "motor" and recompress it again. Should be a closed system pumping the gas from one side to the other.

    1. VinceH

      Re: stupid...

      s/stupid/early days/

  5. SpeakerToAliens
    Unhappy

    Firefox: "Error #2035"

    Firefox (v27.0.1) - I get "Error #2035" instead of the video. I have Adobe flash player v12.0.0.55. This error seems to be "URL not found", though the video does play if I use MSIE.

    Anyone else suffering this with Firefox?

    Anyone know a solution (that doesn't involve using a different browser)?

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Firefox: "Error #2035"

      Video works fine on Firefox 27.0.1 here. Check that you don't have multiple instances of flash installed (or that it's outdated and has been disabled by Firefox).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox: "Error #2035"

        Disable https everywhere

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox: "Error #2035"

      I get this too

      Disabling https everywhere sorts it

    3. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Firefox: "Error #2035"

      Running any script blocker add-ons? I get something similar (can not load plug in) with NoScript when playing some content, just allow temporary access and it works fine, does reload the page though.

  6. Vociferous

    Business idea: new type of lure.

    As subject.

  7. Vic

    No use for investigating other fish

    As it stands, that robot is useless for watching other fish - it bubbles every time it moves.

    Fish react very badly to air bubbles - dolphins use that reaction to shepherd prey into large balls where they can catch them more easily.

    For this to be any use in ichthyology, the power source needs redeveloping. It remains to be seen whether or not similar performance can be created using something else.

    Still - an interesting piece of work.

    Vic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No use for investigating other fish

      I was about to mention the same thing. I think that they should start experimenting with a pump, fluidics and a real fluid like water instead of air.

      1. Scroticus Canis

        Re: No use for investigating other fish

        Both gas and liquids are fluids. Think you are referring to the use of hydraulics.

        Obvious that the use of compressed gas is only suitable for the demonstration phase of this idea and it's to save on the complexity of having a pump/actuator and a larger energy source, valves don't use as much.

        They're obviously also going to need to sort buoyancy and attitude control for any 'real use' situation.

  8. Aoyagi Aichou

    Altitude?

    Makes me wonder how is the thing moving vertically.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Altitude?

      Look closely, it's hanging on a string.

  9. Tromos

    "...to function with and around humans..."

    So, how well does it do out of water?

  10. Chris Evans

    Sloppy reporting!

    "...they say will be more durable" than what?

    The article on the MIT site does not mention durability!

    1. Martin Budden

      Sloppy reading!

      "Designed to be more flexible and durable than traditional rigidly-built robot systems"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Biology

    > the robots could be embedded with schools of fish to study marine biology and behaviors.

    In this scenario, be interesting to see the actual fish trying to copulate with the machine.

    ...or vice-versa.

    1. andreas koch
      FAIL

      @ AC ~2200h GMT - Re: Biology

      Biology wasn't your strongest subject in school, was it?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      Meh Re: Biology

      Didn't you pay attention when you watched Futurama?

      Just ask Fry about Lucy Liu ... ;-)

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Meh Biology

        "I don't want to go out and earn money, I want to stay at home and make out with my fish-bot" doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the marylin monroe bot...

  12. saif

    Makes harpooning one more rewarding

    Fed up of the hard bodied fish robots getting away every time...try a c manoeuvre escape from that one, matey. But what wrong with an ordinary electrical actuator used in every other fish robot...sometimes engineers over think.

  13. VeganVegan
    Linux

    Meh. Fish and chips,

    but inedible.

    Throw it back.

    Let the penguins have it.

    1. imaginarynumber

      Re: Meh. Fish and chips,

      You mean like Festo's 2009 robotic swimming and flying penguins?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5JHMpLIqO4

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Has to be said...

    "Unleash the robot turbot."

  15. Ashton Black
    Terminator

    I can't believe no-one has said it...

    I for one welcome our pliant piscis overlords.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: I can't believe no-one has said it...

      ...which can be fixed with pliers?

  16. Martin Budden

    Missed a trick.

    They could have made the gas vent backwards to give extra forward propulsion. Unless they were worried that if they did this it would look more rocket-propelled than fin-propelled.

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