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Engineers are ‘schooling’ themselves on fish maneuvers

In this video, using high-speed-cameras, The National Science Foundation explains how fish can help scientists understand how to create new materials that can go faster and be more flexible. They also want to develop new “smart materials” to adapt to the environment. Published April 17, 2014.


Their research is revealing more about what it takes to truly swim like a fish

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aerospace engineer Michael Philen and his team at Virginia Tech are investigating the biomechanics of fish locomotion, in hopes of contributing to the next generation of robotic fish and underwater submersibles.

The researchers are studying how fish use their muscles to swim efficiently and execute underwater maneuvers, such as darting around in perfectly synchronized schools.

Philen and his team also are developing new smart materials, such as a bioengineered hair that is modeled after the hair cell sensors on the side of fish that allow it to detect minute changes in water flow.

Read more about the artificial fish project and related research on the Virginia Tech Aerospace Structures and Materials Lab website.

The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #0938043, EFRI-BSBA: Multifunctional materials exhibiting distributed actuation, sensing, and control: Uncovering the hierarchical control of fish for developing smarter materials.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer  

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