Scientists at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS), South Korea's Seoul National University, and Harvard University have engineered a predictive model and closed-loop controller for a soft swimming robot.
The robot's sides are lined with artificial muscles composed of inflatable silicone air pockets; as pockets on one side expand, they create a curvature, contracting pockets on the other side and causing the robot to mimic a fish's undulating bending movements.
Hyper-elastic liquid metal strain sensors linked to an ohmmeter measure electrical resistance caused by elongation, indicating how the robotic fish's curvature shifts given a certain change in air pressure.
The team measured the robot's swimming performance via an information loop feeding a self-learning algorithm within the controller.
MPI-IS's Ardian Jusufi said, "This robot will allow us to test and refine hypotheses regarding the neuromechanics of swimming animals as well as help us improve future underwater robots."
From Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (Germany)
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