Flying Fish Robot Transitions From Water to Air on a Jet of Water

Jeremy S. Cook
a month agoRobotics

Making the jump from land to air is hard enough, and with the exception of specially-designed aircraft that can take off and land from the water’s surface on floats, water isn’t generally part of the equation. The bio-inspired ‘flying fish’ robot, however, developed by researchers led by Dr. Mirko Kovac at the Imperial College of London, can not only take off from a mostly submerged position under the water, but does so using water from the environment as a propellant.

The ‘flying fish’ uses a small amount of calcium carbide that reacts with water in a combustion chamber to form a jet of water shooting out of the back of the craft with a force of 25 times the device’s weight. The robot can take off even in relatively rough seas, and it then glides up to 26 meters — or a more impressive-sounding 85 feet — on its wing assembly.

The fish-bot is controlled by an Adafruit Feather M0 board, along with a Bluetooth interface, pressure sensor, and inertial measurement unit. Impressively, it has only one moving part — a pump that pulls in water from the environment. Multiple launches can be accomplished after sucking in more water to use as a propellant.

You can see it being tested in the video above, both floating/flying in the lab and in outdoor conditions. Additional details can be found in the researcher’s paper.

robots
Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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