Robot fish on display at London Aquarium


The world\

's first autonomously controlled robotic fish have gone on display at the London Aquarium.

The three robotic fish, which took a team of scientists from Essex University three years to develop, are equipped with sensors that allow them to navigate around the tank and learn about their environment.

Although robotic fish are nothing new, these ones are very lifelike. As these video clips show, the movements made by the fish, and the way they move when they encounter obstacles or the tank floor, is remarkably similar to that of real fish.

Professor Huosheng Hu, who headed the team of robotics engineers who developed the robot, told the BBC:

\"People get confused and think it\'s a real fish....\"

\"This one is more life-like - it mimics normal swimming and sharp turning. People get confused and think it\'s a real fish.\"

Learning from nature

The team spent three years working with staff at the London Aquarium learning about how different species of fish move and applied their knowledge to the robots, which have been designed to look like carp.

Each one is around 50cm/20\" long and has shiny scales, and even barbels, like a real carp.

The Telegraph reports that the aim is to get the fish to swim as fast as Tuna - one of the world\'s fastest swimming fish species.

Members of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Essex are aiming to produce a 1m long autonomous robot fish.

At the moment, though, the fish are limited to just five hours of swimming before their batteries run out.

Professor Hu told the BBC: \"We want the fish to have the ability to look for its own charging station, just like a real fish looking for food.\"

Hu told the BBC that later models of the robots may be put to use for underwater exploration, detecting oil pipe leaks or covert surveillance.