Video: MIT’s Fish Robot Goes for a Swim

If there’s one thing I really think the world could use more of right now, it’s robot fish.

Thankfully, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has delivered. According to IEEE Spectrum, their roboticists have developed an intriguing new “soft robotic spy fish,” which scientists are now using to explore the ocean without disrupting its natural inhabitants.

The robotic fish, named SoFi, can swim independently just like a real fish, using hydraulics. This is accomplished “by pumping oil into one side of the tail and then the other to make it flex back and forth.”

The tail is made of silicone elastomer.

In the above video, you can watch SoFi use this unique method of swimming in Fiji, venturing beneath corals and capturing video without scaring the other animals. It can also be controlled remotely with what looks like a standard Super Nintendo USB controller, which according to the video sends out “ultrasonic signals to communicate.”

At about 0:55, you can also watch a roboticist disassemble SoFi, which I imagine likely amounts to extreme body horror for any other robot fish who may be watching.

I apologize in advance.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.