Alum Dimitris Tsakiris writes soft robotics article for The Conversation

Alum Dimitris Tsakiris (EE Ph.D. 1995) has written a story about a breakthrough in soft robotic fish for The Conversation website. The Conversation is a nonprofit, independent news organization that publishes trustworthy and informative articles for the general public, written by academic experts and edited by journalists.

In the article, Tsakiris provides an explanation and context for the work of a team of Chinese researchers publishing in Nature who developed a snailfish-inspired robot that was able to operate within the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean–the Mariana Trench–at a depth of almost 11 km (6.8 miles).

Tsakiris is Reader in Intelligent Robotics in the Computer Science Department of Aberystwyth University in Wales, U.K. At Maryland he was advised by Professor P. S. Krishnaprasad (ECE/ISR).

Here are two videos of the Chinese research:

This above video shows field exploration of the robot in a deep lake (depth ~70 m). The soft robot was carried by a gripper on ‘Blue ROV’ and released at depth of 8 m and 70 m. After release, the soft robot was actuated with an on-board AC voltage of 8 kV at 1Hz. The free swimming soft robot was recorded by the internal camera and lights on the ROV, which further confirms the robustness of the robot in field exploration.

This second video shows the deep sea field test of the soft robot in the Mariana Trench. Mounted on a deep sea lander, the soft robot reached the bottom of Mariana Trench. At the depth of 10,900m in the Mariana Trench, the DE driven soft robot kept flapping its fins. The front view and side view of the soft robot were recorded by the deep sea cameras and LED lights in anti-pressure shells.

Published April 27, 2021