MIT’s robot fish SoFi is getting a major upgrade. Researchers are now working on its design to accelerate its swimming speeds. That will further enable it to follow fish and other marine life with its onboard cameras. SoFi is the most advanced underwater robot of its kind. The technology is literally opening up the oceans to human view. We first blogged about it in April.
SoFi the Explorer – MIT’s Robot Fish
SoFi is important robotic technology because it’s breaking ground in maritime exploration. It’s able to gain access to underwater locations safely and within close proximity that humans can’t get near. Thereby, providing video footage and pictures of marine life and environments not seen before. And it’s so precisely engineered as a robotic fish, it is accepted by real fish and marine life. That provides the robot’s onboard cameras total access.
Advanced Robotic Technology
SoFi is 3D printed in plastics. It moves in all three directions with a pair of side fins and a buoyancy control unit. Onboard cameras shoot footage in out of the way places at close range. Hydraulic motors move it side by side like a fish. It’s controlled by a diver in the distance. The diver’s waterproof remote control pilots SoFi with ultra-sonic, acoustic commands. It’s been rigorously tested in the Rainbow Reef off Fiji. MIT’s robot fish dove 50 feet up to 40 minutes at a time. The beauty about the technology is that it can go into delicate areas like reefs without disturbing them or the life dwelling within them. All the time, videotaping footage of the ocean environment.
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) developed SoFi. Their robotic fish is a first of its kind for operating untethered, in 3 dimensions, at a depth of 50 feet and for time periods of 40 minutes plus. It’s game-changing innovation that may enable many chapters of new oceanographic discovery, innovation and information.