Nature is a rich source of inspiration for robot development. Millions of years of evolution have endowed biological systems with morphological, neurophysiological, and behavioral features that enable them to survive and thrive in their environments. Merging biological insight with advanced materials, fabrication, dynamic modeling, and control theory, we are interested in bio-inspired robotics at all levels from basic sensing and actuation mechanisms, to robot design, and to collective behaviors.
Monitoring water quality is critical to ensuring the health and safety of aquatic and marine ecosystems. Due to their compact size and low cost, robotic fish hold a strong promise in forming underwater mobile sensor networks for dynamic monitoring of aquatic environments. We have successfully demonstrated a novel type of underwater robots, gliding robotic fish that merges the energy-efficient feature of an underwater glider and the highly maneuverable feature of a robotic fish, for long-duration monitoring of versatile water environments. We are currently working with experts in wireless sensor networks, signal processing, environmental engineering, and aquatic ecology, to develop robotic fish-based collaborative sensing solutions for aquatic environments.