Posted March 5th, 2012
It may not look particularly appealing to the likes of you or me, but the robot fish shown above is so cool that real ones will follow its lead.
Researchers from Polytechnic Institute of New York University designed their fish to mimic the tail propulsion of a real swimming fish, and tested it out with a variety of tail beat frequencies and flow speeds.
In nature, fish at the front of a school beat their tails more frequently, creating a wake in which their followers gather. The followers' tails swish noticeably more slowly, leading researchers to believe that they're getting a hydrodynamic advantage from the leaders’ hard work.