"The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is providing many interesting news items this week. The BBC reports that the Black Ghost Knifefish has inspired construction of a new robot. The robotic fish would be able to swim in underwater situation where it would be impossible or too dangerous for a human to swim."
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"'Today, we don't really have underwater robots that work well in really cluttered conditions or in conditions where vision isn't useful,' said Prof Malcolm MacIver. 'Just consider the sunken cruise ship. It is very dangerous to send divers into such situations where the water can be very cloudy.'
It is the special propulsion technique employed by knifefish that the Northwestern researcher primarily wants to copy: the ripples sent through the long fin on the belly. Undulate one way, and the fish will move forward; undulate the other way, and the direction of travel is reversed. Using counter-propagating waves that meet in the middle, the fish will move vertically."