Video: Research is revealing more about what it takes to truly swim like a fish

April 15, 2014 by Miles O'brien

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aerospace engineer Michael Philen and his team at Virginia Tech are investigating the biomechanics of fish locomotion, in hopes of contributing to the next generation of robotic fish and underwater submersibles.

The researchers are studying how fish use their muscles to swim efficiently and execute underwater maneuvers, such as darting around in perfectly synchronized schools.

Philen and his team also are developing new smart materials, such as a bioengineered hair that is modeled after the hair cell sensors on the side of fish that allow it to detect minute changes in water flow.

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