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Robot Fish Makes Splash with Motion Breakthrough

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The robot fish.

The robot fish was fitted with a twisted and coiled polymer (TCP) to drive it forward, a light-weight, low-cost device that relies on temperature change to generate movement, while also limiting its speed.

Credit: Tsam Lung You

A robot fish created by scientists at the U.K.'s University of Bristol could open up underwater exploration.

The researchers equipped the device with a twisted and coiled polymer (TCP) to deliver temperature-driven propulsion by turning energy into mechanical motion via contraction.

Passing current through an electrical conductor warms the TCP, while minimizing the distance between the TCP on one side and the spring on the other triggers the robot fish's rear fin.

The fin can swing at a larger angle for the same amount of TCP actuation through the optimized structural design of the TCP-spring antagonistic muscle pair and the closer proximity of their anchor points.

"Our robotic fish swam at the fastest actuation frequency found in a real TCP application and also the highest locomotion speed of a TCP application so far," said Bristol's Tsam Lung You.

From University of Bristol News (U.K.)
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