Posted June 6th, 2010
With help from the National Science Foundation and three robotic fish prototypes, Dr. Maurizio Porfiri and the students of the NYU-Poly Dynamical Systems Laboratory were able to share their passion for engineering and science in an entertaining fashion with young students at the New York Aquarium. Cameras and journalists arrived for the session with sixth grade students of IS 303, Brooklyn, but days earlier, fourth graders of PS 90 in Brooklyn enthusiastically joined in the same fluid dynamics experiments. After an introduction to the science and engineering underlying robotic fish, the students cut their own fish tails to attach to the robots. They then tested their designs by racing prototypes of robotic fish. Dr. Porfiri and his students hope robots will some day lead real fish from dangerous waters, but first they must identify the characteristics of fish “leadership” and the algorithms, smart materials, and propulsion systems that will create robots that will cause other fish to school.