>> It looks like a robot but swims like a fish.
Gymnobot is one of the latest creations from the
University of Bath, designed to mimic the way a fish
swims. It's based on a freshwater knife fish found in
the Amazon and allows researchers to design a
submersible craft that, instead of using propellers
which get caught in weeds, uses nature for inspiration.
^*This is what it looks like inside. A kind of x-ray
view of the mechanism. The man behind the project is
Dr. William Megill from the Ocean Technologies Lab in
the University's Department of Mechanical Engineering.
^*Tell me about this. What does this do?
>> So this is the primary propulsion mechanism, our
version of a propeller. And so what we've done is taken
some inspiration from a fish. This particular kind of a
fish swims by holding its body rigid. And then it has a
fin on its belly. And it swims, making the movement on
its fin on the bottom of its body.
>> But that goes inside that [inaudible] over there.
>> That's right. So we have the rest of the body of the
fish, if you like our robot fish; sits here. It's in
two halves at the moment. And what we do is insert this
mechanism through the bottom of that and then reassemble
it and then it'll float. And what it does, as we'll
see, it makes a wave. And it's generated by these two
crank shafts. And that causes stuff to bend on the
bottom here. And so we have, then, a wave that can --
made along that as it swims.
>> And now the department has landed a major EU grant
worth 1.8 million Euros. The University is working with
five other research institutes across Europe on the
project and will be the first of its kind in the world.
Gymnobot is funded by BMT Defence Services and the
Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council.
>> You know, we were talking about tsunamis and things,
right? After that tsunami, you found a lot of broken
bits of cars, broken bits of everything else, right, but
not a lot of fish on the beach. Why? Because a fish
understands what's going on around it, knows how to deal
with the water it's in. So we go from there and say, a
fish knows how to do that. If we can copy that, if we
can learn from that, then we can make a boat that can
also work in that same environment.
>> It's a real coup for the students here at Bath.
>> It's really nice to be down in the lab working on a
physical, tangible device. And it's so new and
innovative, it's certainly more interesting than doing
something a bit boring in engineering.
>> It's in its early stages, but Gymnobot and other
aquatic robots could help us understand marine life in a
whole new way that could help bring breakthroughs in
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