Swiss researchers have developed an innovative robotic fish named Belle, which promises a breakthrough in collecting data about undersea creatures without causing any disruption to the environment. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s mechanical engineering team expressed the goal to gain deeper insights into ecosystem behavior through their invention.
Non-invasive and environment-friendly exploration
Belle is designed to mimic the movements of a real fish and navigate underwater silently, ensuring minimal disturbance to marine life and habitats. Unlike traditional systems that use propeller-equipped motors, Belle’s quiet operation avoids damaging corals and alarming aquatic creatures, as highlighted by robotics assistant professor Robert Katzshman.
Equipped with artificial intelligence, Belle is capable of capturing high-resolution videos and collecting DNA samples, enabling marine biologists to study the health and diversity of various reef ecosystems more closely. The compact robot measures less than a meter in length and weighs around 10 kg. Its propulsion system relies on hollow silicone fins and a water pumping mechanism, ensuring precise movements.
Efficient data collection and recharging
Belle’s innovative design allows it to operate autonomously for up to two hours on a full charge. The robot can swim to the water’s surface and transmit GPS signals to researchers, facilitating data retrieval and analysis. While longer missions may require battery and DNA filter replacements, the team remains optimistic about extending Belle’s capabilities to gather valuable insights about underwater environments.
The Swiss research team anticipates that their robotic fish will significantly contribute to studying and understanding the intricacies of marine ecosystems. With its ability to gather precise and non-invasive data, Belle’s advancements in underwater exploration offer scientists valuable insights into ecosystem behavior and enable informed decision-making for the preservation of marine environments worldwide. The Swiss researchers’ innovative creation represents a significant step forward in marine biology research and ecological studies.