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More on the roboytic coelacanth, etc

The BBC Online Network has news of new robotic fish unveiled
by Japanese scientists which will allow long extinct species to be
recreated. The robot models of modern fish are so lifelike that
only closely inspecting the eye tells them apart from the real
thing. The four-year project at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)
cost $1m - the company expect the technology will be used in
virtual aquariums.

They have already created a robotic replica of the rarely-seen
coelacanth. They intend to recreate fish which died out millions
of years ago and are known only from fossils. Yuuji Terada at the
submarine builders, MHI believes there may be spin-offs for the
company's main business: "The idea of this fish fin movement
could be applied to realise the difficult technology of submarine

MHI's expertise was stretched to the limit to develop the fish.
Dozens of tiny sensors around the tank transmit messages to the
fish, telling them where to swim. The messages are sent from a
computer. The first robot, a sea bream, weighs 2.5kg (5.5 pounds)
and is 50cm (20 inches) long. Its top speed is half a knot (0.9
kph). The battery can keep it swimming for up to 30 minutes. In
comparison, the coelacanth robot is a metal monster, weighing in
at 40kg (88 pounds) and measuring 120cm (47 inches) long.

The first robotic fish, a tuna, swam in 1994 at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. The engineers there admired the
energy-efficient swimming motion of the fish, honed over 160
million years of evolutionary change.  They believe robot fish
could swim far further than autonomous submarines, given the
same amount of battery power. The cyber-fish could then search
huge areas of the ocean, looking for sources of pollution or
making maps.  More information and video coverage on