You had us at underwater robots!
According to a new study by scientists, the way in which an electric fish "squirts jets of water from its body" could pave the way for underwater robots.
Here's what researcher Malcolm MacIver had to say about their research subject, the black ghost knifefish:
"They can sense in all directions. This raised the question of whether they had a propulsion system that could generate forces in all the directions they would need to get the most out of such a sensory system."
So far, it seems like studies/tests involving the knifefish have been going well.
More from MacIver on underwater robots:
"One thing lacking in the field is an underwater robot with high maneuverability. After the BP oil spill disaster, a remotely operated vehicle banged into the oil well head, and the reason for that is that current technology is about as easy to steer as a submerged bathtub. What are really needed for these operations are underwater vehicles that can move with the agility of underwater animals.
Most underwater robots use light and cameras for sensing, which can require kilowatts of energy to see something. The sensory system of our robot is very, very low power, just like the fish in the Amazon. Coupled with an extremely energy-efficient propulsion system, we hope to have a robot that requires very low energy and thus can go long distances for long [spans of] time."
We wish these scientists the best of luck with their research.
Hooray for the black ghost knifefish!