Development in military robotics continues, with the U.S. Navy's new spy drone designed to look and swim like a fish.
Created under the Silent NEMO project, the robot, called GhostSwimmer, appears to be about the same size as an albacore tuna fish, measuring five feet in length and weighing 100 pounds, according to The Daily Caller. The robot, which can be controlled with a laptop, is able to move through water like an actual fish thanks to its tail, which mimics the movements of its real life counterpart.
The Navy is focused on creating drones that copy sea life so they can remain undetected while carrying out missions.
"This is an attempt to take thousands of years of evolution- what has been perfected since the dawn of time- and try to incorporate that into a mechanical device," said Jerry Lademan, project lead, who worked on the machine at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
From a distance, the GhostSwimmer looks like a shark, and it is able to operate in water as shallow as 10 inches or dive 300 feet below the water's surface, Wired reported.
Potential uses for the robofish range from small tasks, like inspecting hulls in ship, to missions for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The drone can also replace the bottlenose dolphins and sea lions the Navy currently uses to find underwater mines and recover equipment, which animal lovers would certainly enjoy.
The Navy finished its most recent round of testing on Dec. 11 and plans on conducting more in the future so they can send these fish drones on real missions, The Daily Caller reported.
"We want to see projects like this replicated throughout the fleet," said Capt. Jim Loper, department head for Concepts and Innovation at the Navy Warfare Development Command. "The fusion of the deckplate brainpower with support of the most senior leadership in the Navy is going to keep us moving forward through the 21st century."
The GhostSwimmer is only the latest robot designed to mimic the skills of animals, Wired reported. Previous creations include the "Cheetah," which can run up to 30 miles per hour, the iSprawl, a cockroach-inspired machine that can cover 7.5 feet in one second, and the Stickybot, which mimics a gecko's climbing ability.
The Department of Homeland Security is also funding development of BIOSwimmer, a smaller robot that has similar functions as GhostSwimmer, making it somewhat of a little brother.