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Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich are hard at work on a new, cool robo-fish. They call it Sepios, and this cuttlefish-inspired machine is well on its way to solving several of the problems contemporary swimming robots still face.

One is that until now, most swimming robots have not been too mobile. They’ve struggled to move about with precision and accuracy. Well, not anymore. Sepios uses its four fins in tandem to move in any direction it wants, including around and even through obstacles.

The four fins also make it quite nimble. As you can see in the video below, Sepios doesn’t take its sweet time to get from point to point, but rather moves about quite quickly. Despite this, Sepios is quiet. In fact, quiet enough that it can float near real fish without disturbing them, which should prove a useful talent for gathering scientific data.


Sepios’ “fishlike appearance and low disturbance are ideal for closing in on fish, making it the ideal device for marine life filming,” writes the team on their website.

Sepios is about 70cm long, the span of its fins is only 95cm, and it weighs just about 23kg. The fins are a bit of a guarded secret, as the team hasn’t divulged their exact construction so far, but they are operated by nine servo-motors attached to each of the fins.

While there are no plan to add the cuttlefish’s colour changing abilities, the team is working on adding some extras to Sepios, including lasers and measurement tools to help Sepios avoid obstacles.