Robo Shark- the world's only robotic shark!

There is a Roboshark 1 - which was built for the BBC TV series called Smart Sharks, and a Roboshark 2. This first shark contained a hidden camera, designed to blend in with real sharks to film them in their natural environment. Roboshark 2 was built for the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. It will live in the aquarium for up to three years (starting from July, 2003), so that visitors can watch it and see how the other sharks react to it. He will be at the centre of a study on shark behaviour, how the real tiger sharks react to their new robotic friend, and the way that sharks behave in a captive environment.

This two metre-long robotic shark is modelled on a Pacific Great reef shark, and it swims using its "electronic brain", sonar, gyroscopes, compasses, and battery sensors, he monitors his own environment and battery levels. When his battery levels are low he rises to the surface and waits for his battery to be recharged in the boat above. Weighing 25kgs, he can swim to up to 4.8 kms/hour and up to 30 metres deep in all directions. This can last for 4 hours, until it needs recharging. If necessary, its inventor, Andrew Sneath, can control Roboshark 2 from the surface with a remote control.

Roboshark is built from durable plastics and fibreglass that don't rust or degrade in the salty waters. He also has to be able to separate into pieces for easy storage and transportation.

Robosharks characteristics were adopted from the bull shark, the reef shark and the great white. Roboshark's head needed to be wide enough to fit a camera- using the head of a bull shark, normally wider than other sharks. His body was based on a reef shark- which is undercut and sucked in. Finally, Roboshark's tail is short, like that or a great white. Part of the reason for Robosharks crude look was to determine if sharks could detect a fake. The creators had intended to use Roboshark as a way to test shark intelligence.

After Roboshark 1 was built, and used for its purpose, Roboshark 2 was built, especially for the aquarium environment. "I wanted Roboshark to live on, " says Sneath. " It was a new way of presenting information about the shark , and of creating awareness about the plight of the shark. And by having Roboshark2 live at an aquarium it was helping to continue to create that awareness." Andrew Sneath's creations will not end with Roboshark 2, he hopes to create a fully robotic aqaurium where the public can actually get into the water and swim with the mechanical animals. It says it could be a way for the public to observe and gain a greater understanding of marine life without disturbing or hurting the animals.


I love you, Roboshark

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