A spy in the water: Engineering robotic fish

Blending in: A robotic fish becomes a reef resident.

Researchers at MIT have recently developed and tested SoFi, the robotic fish that can blend in so well it can even swim alongside other fish.

Why a robotic fish?

You might wonder why researchers would want to create a robotic fish given all of the submersibles and underwater tools to measure various oceanic metrics. But SoFi doesn’t scare away other fish like a submersible would, and it can move around as it takes in data from the ocean around it, unlike stationary observation tools.

SoFi the Robotic fish by the numbers.

  • 1.5 feet – how long SoFi stretches
  • 3.5 pounds – how much SoFi weighs
  • 60 feet – how far SoFi can dive
  • 50 feet – how far SoFi can go from its diver
  • 40 minutes – SoFi’s battery life

What will SoFi do?

SoFi is the first soft-bodied robotic fish that can swim near other ocean life without startling them. That means SoFi is in a unique position to observe ocean animals unobtrusively.

SoFi can map out the locations of animals, transmit video, and study oceanic interactions, measure currents, and more!