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Robofish Grace monitors waters

Robofish Grace

A high-tech robotic fish hatched at Michigan State University has a new look, a new skill, and a new name.

MSU scientists have made a number of improvements on the fish—now known as Grace, which stands for Gliding Robot ACE—including the ability to glide long distances, the most important change to date. Grace now has the ability to glide through the water practically indefinitely, using little to no energy, while gathering valuable data that can aid in the cleaning of our lakes and rivers.

Designed and built by Xiaobo Tan, MSU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team, the fish is equipped with an array of sensors that not only allow it to travel autonomously but also measure water temperature, quality, and other pertinent facts.

The disadvantage to gliding, Tan says, is that it is slower and less maneuverable.

“This is why we integrated both locomotion modes—gliding and swimming—in our robot,” Tan says. “Such integration also allows the robot to adapt to different environments, from shallow streams to deep lakes, from calm ponds to rivers with rapid currents.”

Late last year, Tan and his team took Grace for a test drive on the Kalamazoo River, the site of a 2010 oil spill, where it exceeded all expectations.

Learn more about Robofish Grace.

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