'Tunabot' : Highly Energy Efficient Robotic Tuna Developed
Scientists at University of
Viriginia have developed a 'Tunabot', the first robotic tuna that can
accurately mimic both the highly efficient swimming style of tuna and their
high speed. According to George Lauder,a
scientist at Virginia University, many complicated fish robots that consume large
amounts of power have been developed. The 'Tunabot' is energy efficient and at
the same time like the Porsche going through Cambridge traffic, it can go to
the track and perform at a high level.
The challenge, Lauder said, was in designing a mechanism that could efficiently convert the rotation of a motor into the side-to-side flapping of a fish tail — and the solution proved to be surprisingly simple.
Powered by an iPhone battery, the Tunabot can swim as far as about 5½ miles. It's also capable of very quick motion, flapping its tail as many as 15 times per second.
“A team led by Hilary Bart-Smith, a professor in UVA Engineering’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, did it by attaching a bent shaft to the motor,” Lauder said. “So it’s extremely simple, and it turned out to be very effective and very power-efficient. The whole thing only costs about $100.”And with tests performed in Lauder’s lab, the UVA team was able to show the robot’s performance and power consumption are similar to that of live fish.