Robot fish has hydraulic — This Robot fish has hydraulic blood. US researchers have designed a robotic fish with a synthetic vascular system that allows it to move parts of its structure and store energy, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
That internal hydraulic system, which uses a fluid similar to blood, has allowed the robot to swim in the water, against the current, in the tests carried out by the team from Cornell University (USA) that manufactured it.
This advance can facilitate that the future designs of autonomous robots increase their efficiency and their capacity to conserve energy, underline the authors of the work.
To develop his prototype, Robert Shepherd and his group determined that the fluids that are often used as a transmission force in hydraulic systems also have the potential to store energy.
Under this premise, the researchers created a vascular system with interconnected flow batteries and integrated into a robot shaped like a Pterois fish – a species present in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Thanks to an electrolytic liquid that circulates through the internal conduits of the robot, the electronic systems of the automaton receive the necessary current to operate.
At the same time, the circulation of the liquid transmits movement to the fins of the fish, which allows it to move in the water.
“We realized that the operating time of most robots is very short before they have to recharge, in the order of tens of minutes, but humans can operate for days without eating,” said James Pikul, co-author of the study and researcher of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics of the University of Pennsylvania, to the specialized site Gizmodo.
“We wanted to solve this problem by finding ways to store energy in all the components of a robot,” he added.
The robot can be operational for a maximum of about 36 hours and is capable of swimming at a rate of 1.5 bodies per minute upstream, according to the researchers.