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MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory unveiled a soft, robotic fish that can swim alongside real fish to help study aquatic life.
"SoFi" can swim at depths of 50 feet for up to 40 minutes, and it is capable of controlling its own buoyancy. Two hydraulic pumps flex the tail and it can swim autonomously in all directions. It also can be controlled by a retrofitted, waterproof Nintendo controller. It's equipped with a high-resolution camera, aiding researchers in studying elusive sea life.
MIT says this robot will blend in with its surroundings and get closer to sea life than existing autonomous underwater vehicles, which often have to be tethered to a boat with a cable and have bulky propellers. SoFi has a much simpler and more lightweight set-up, with on-board sensors for perception, a servo motor and the same lithium battery found in smartphones.