Xiaobo Tan's Robotic Fish Making Waves

Xiaobo Tan's Robotic Fish Making Waves
Xiaobo Tan received an award from the Office of Naval Research...

 

Xiaobo Tan received an award from the Office of Naval Research for his biomimetic robotic fish research. The $379,748 award will be used to develop highly maneuverable robotic fish based on biological principles and biomimetic electroactive polymers. In particular, Tan and his research group will pursue fundamental studies on the development of novel electroactive polymer hairs as artificial lateral lines for flow sensing, as well as the development of electroactive polymer-based fins capable of complex 3D deformations. The research is expected to advance the performance of robotic fish toward that of their biological counterparts, and also to provide a controlled platform for investigating the locomotor and sensory mechanisms of real fishes.
 Robotic Fish
Their research on robotic fish has benefited greatly from Xiaobo Tan’s NSF project, "CAREER: Dexterous Biomimetic Micromanipulation Using Artificial Muscles: Modeling, Sensing, and Control," which has provided the group with a sound knowledge base in electroactive polymers.
 
The research group is also actively exploring the use of schools of robotic fish as mobile sensing platforms in aquatic environments. In collaboration with Professor Lihong Xu, Director of Institute of Modern Agriculture Science and Engineering at Tongji University, Shanghai, they are planning to use such robotic fish to address growing environmental problems associated with the aquaculture industry. The robotic fish has also become an important avenue for recruitment and K-12 outreach at MSU College of Engineering. Through close collaboration with Mr. Drew Kim’s office, the research group has developed a robotic fish-based educational kit for middle and high school students. This kit is being piloted at a number of local schools, and the student teams come to the College of Engineering Design Day to present and race their robotic fish prototypes. As an Engineering Tour Stops, Xiaobo Tan’s lab also receives about 60-80 visitors including prospective students and their parents every month, where the robotic fish project is highlighted to inspire the students' interest.
 
Robotic Fish
Please enjoy a video clip of the
recent robotic fish prototype!