Robotic fish to cause a splash at London aquarium

LONDON (AFP) - The world's first self-controlled robotic fish were due to be unveiled at the London Aquarium, officials said.

The three aquatic robots were developed by a team at the University of Essex, in southeast England, to teach the public more about robotic technology.

Built to look like the real thing, the fish can swim around a specially designed tank, avoiding obstacles and reacting to the environment.

They have sensor-based controls to navigate autonomously.

Project leader Huosheng Hu and his robotics team worked with the aquarium for three years, studying the behavior and movement of a variety of fish before creating the robots.

"This work has many real-world applications including seabed exploration, detecting leaks in oil pipelines, mine countermeasures and improving the performance of underwater vehicles," Hu said.

The fish feature jewel-bright scales and can swim as fast as a tuna, accelerate like a pike and navigate like an eel.

"Our robotic fish are really wonderful to look at and very entertaining. It's amazing how beautiful and graceful their movements are -- they're going to be incredibly popular with our visitors," said aquarium director Foster Archer.

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