The development of a robotic fish based on a polymer actuator is reported. The fish used a PPy based actuator to generate swimming motions. Extensive experiments were conducted to characterize the behavior of PPy films. Actuators based on the shape of a caudal fin were designed. The robot was powered by a lithium coin battery and was completely self-contained. Waterproof packaging was designed to protect the electronics inside.
This is the first time such a project has been undertaken in the world. As a proof-of-concept, this project successfully shows a working prototype with 10-12 hours lifetime with an average speed of 1-2mm/s. It is concluded that the weak actuation of PPy material was the major limitation of the prototype.