Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On January 13th 2021, researchers at Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts announced that they had developed a group of 3D printed robotic fish that could synchronize their movements like a school of real fish, all without any external control. Equipped with 2 cameras and 3 LED lights, each fish was programmed to detect the light emitted by its neighbours, such that it could determine how far away its neighbours were and in what direction its neighbours were heading. The researchers’ work was published in the journal Science Robotics.

As a proof of concept, the researchers simulated a search mission with a red light in the fishes’ tank. Initially, the fish spread out across the tank, until one came sufficiently close to the light to see it. This caused the fish’s LEDs to flash, prompting the rest of the school to aggregate around it. The researchers hope that their work will be applied to underwater robots that can monitor coasts and coral reefs.

Another example of 3D printed robotic fish involves SoFi from the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT). Unveiled in March 2018, SoFi was made to swim in the ocean alongside real fish, and could be controlled by a diver who could be up to 70ft (21.3m) away. At the time, MIT proclaimed that SoFi had a much simpler and lighter setup than previous autonomous underwater vehicles, which they argued had usually been tethered to boats or powered via expensive and impractically large propellers. As with Harvard University, the researchers’ work was published in the journal Science Robotics.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “School forellen-Rijksmuseum RP-P-1984-15” is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1926, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. It is also in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.