Technology: Belle, a fish like no other

Created by students, Belle is a new model of silent, autonomous robotic fish. These two features make this prototype a valuable ally for biologists seeking to observe marine environments without disturbing them.

Belle robotic fish ©Euronews

Swiss students at ETH Zurich have developed an autonomous robot fish that can film in high definition and collect environmental DNA samples. Belle, as the students have nicknamed it, can also create its own itineraries as it explores the reefs. However, unlike other underwater devices, Belle doesn't move with propellers, but with a silicone tail that mimics the caudal movements of fish. So she makes no noise. 

Just under a metre long and weighing ten kilos, the robot currently has an autonomy of two hours. Its propulsion is ensured by emptying and refilling two cavities in its tail with water, using a soundproof pump. 

"We want to understand how ecosystems really behave," explains Léon Guggenheim, a mechanical engineering student at ETH Zurich. Belle's ability to blend in with other fish makes it ideal for researchers, particularly when it comes to intra- and inter-specific behavior. 

The team of Zurich students hope Belle can help scientists study the health and biodiversity of various marine ecosystems, impacted by overfishing, pollution and climate change.

1€ For The Ocean

With your donation of 1€ per month you can help fund our research and conservation projects, make a donation today and be part of the solution!

Thank you for your support of 1Ocean.