You’re a fish in the ocean. It’s 2023 and humans have begun deploying swarms of sentinel robot fish along the reef where you live that will monitor your environment, track pollution and collect intelligence on your behavior. Welcome to the future, my finned fishy friends.
O.K., so you’re not a fish. And this sci-fi fishland doesn’t exist. But it could — not long from now. Allow me to introduce SoFi — like “Sophie,” but short for “Soft Robotic Fish,” revealed on Wednesday in Science Robotics, by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
They explained how their finned robot was created, and how her first ocean swim on a coral reef outside of Fiji went. Robotic fish like her could be essential to understanding and protecting marine life in danger of disappearing in a fragile ocean environment, threatened by human activity and climate change.