While we've already witnessed robotic submersibles take on fish-like sensing abilities
, a team at MIT
is hoping to equip autonomous
underwater vehicles (AUVs) with a mechanical fin in order to nix the necessity of a propeller. In essence, the crew is looking to "create a more maneuverable, propeller-less underwater robot better suited for military
tasks such as sweeping mines and inspecting harbors
," and they are taking a note from the bluegill sunfish to make it happen. This particular creature sports a "distinctive swimming motion which results in a constant forward thrust with no backward drag," making it the ideal candidate to replicate. Current prototypes are being constructed with a "thin, flexible material that conducts electricity," and while we've no idea when the gurus plan on cranking out a finalized version, they've already got plans to study other aspects of the sunfish's movement in order to better design the bots.