Robo-fish, or GRACE as she’s known, may help scientists track schools of fish but she isn’t cheap.
GRACE, the gliding robotic fish, aims to give researches a better and more accurate way to track bass, trout, sturgeon, and many other species throughout the Great Lakes.
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Tracking fish acoustically, especially as they return to spawning grounds, is very important to maintain healthy fish populations, ensure that populations stay sustainable, and protect existing species from invasive influences.
Fish are tracked by audio tags embedded in the skin of certain members of the schools, that traditionally “ping” stationary audio receivers that dot the shores near fisheries. Problems arise when fish swim out into deeper water, away from the receivers, where existing systems struggle to track them.
GRACE, standing for Gliding Robotic ACE, is a system that, like stationary audio receivers, detects fish audio trackers, but unlike the stationary receivers, can follow schools of fish, to better track them even as they venture into deep water.
The $1 million government grant, received by MSU in early September, goes towards making GRACE fast enough to keep up with schools, and maybe knock down GRACE’s current $300,000 dollar a piece price-tag.
Yeesh, that’s a lot of dough for a robot fish.