Scientists from Sichuan University created a black robot fish to help clean the world’s polluted oceans. The University in southwest China claims that these small robot fish can absorb microplastics through their bodies.
The robot is only 1.3 centimeters (0.5 inches) and is soft to the touch. The fish gets illuminated by light that helps the robot flap its fins and wiggle its body. Scientists use light to control and prevent the fish from striking ships or other fish.
The robot fish are already pulling microplastics from shallow water. However, scientists set their sights on getting the fish to gather microplastics in deeper waters. The team aims to enable the fish to collect microplastics in deeper water and provide information to analyze marine pollution in real time, said Wang Yuyan, one of the researchers who developed the robot.
Yuyan, one of the researchers who advanced the robot, says, “We developed such a lightweight miniaturized robot. It can be used in many ways, for example, in biomedical or hazardous operations, such as a small robot that can get localized to a part of your body to help eliminate some disease.”
While many were mindful of the fake fish further disrupting the ocean’s ecosystem by having real fish consume the small, soft phony fish. Wang defended the module and its potential by saying if it were to accidentally get eaten by an actual fish, “Real fish can digest it without harm as it is made from polyurethane, which is also biocompatible.”
The robot fish is proven to swim faster compared to most artificial soft robots, swimming at 2.76 body lengths per second. In addition, it can absorb pollutants and recuperate itself when it gets damaged.