Here’s a fish tale that really is about the one that got away — with video to prove it.
A new robot developed by MIT can catch fish underwater. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also virtually invisible.
The bots are made from a gel that’s composed mostly of water, and are powered by water that researchers pump into it. That means they’re nearly impossible to see underwater. That, combined with the fact that they’re fast, makes these bots the ultimate predators.
This is just the latest of more-than-slightly disturbing robots MIT has created. In 2015, they released a robotic cheetah that can run at 30 mph and jump over objects.
Fortunately, though MIT does seem to want robots to take over the world, researchers haven’t made one that can actually kill fish yet. The most aggressive of these gel bots can only catch and release fish. Water is injected into the bot through syringe pumps, and the hand-shaped bot’s “fingers” close around its prey.
Other designs using hydrogel include a finlike bot that flaps back and forth and one that can kick a ball underwater.
Don’t worry, the fish is fine.
“When you release the fish, it’s quite happy because [the robot] is soft and doesn’t damage the fish,” said Xuanhe Zhao, the team leader and an associate professor at MIT. “Imagine a hard robotic hand would probably squash the fish.”
Please don’t imagine that.