Fastest fish can help develop submarine technology

Tiny coral reef wrasses swim as fast as some of the fastest fish, but only with half as much energy, which could help revolutionise robot submarine technology, Australian researchers say.

Replacing propellers with fins

Current Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) use propellers or jets at the back. “By replacing these with fins at the front to mimic how the bluelined wrasses flap their fins, we could propel robots with less power, saving on batteries and increasing their range,” said Chris Fulton from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The Australian National University.

“For a long time, people thought the best high-speed swimmers were the fish cruising in open waters, like mackerel and tuna,” says Fulton, the journal Public Library of Science ONE reports.

“Our study shows that these coral reef wrasses, by virtue of their unique wing-like fins, can maintain very similar speeds at a dramatically lower energetic cost,” Fulton said.

Bluelined wrasses, flap their tapered fins in a figure-eight pattern that produces thrust on every stroke, making it far more energy efficient.IANS

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