P14029: Robotic Fish


Project Summary Project Information

The goal of the project was to develop additional biomimetic robotic capabilities for Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard's Bio Engineering Laboratory using soft pneumatic actuators, also called McKibben muscles, hydraulically. These actuators have great potential for use in many applications including prosthetics and soft robotics, and a robotic fish could be used for exploration, surveillance, or research purposes to study underwater propulsion. The PRP can be viewed here.

The project resulted in a wirelessly-controlled robotic fish mimicking Body Caudal Fin locomotion. It uses the surrounding water as the operating fluid for its hydraulic muscles, is controlled from a smartphone via Bluetooth communication, and is capable of swimming forward and turning using BCF propulsion. Below, are pictures taken during the two semesters of Multidisciplinary Senior Design, including the CAD model at the end of MSDI, the final product at the end of MSDII, and pictures of our demonstration at ImagineRIT.

The project was covered by the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper as part of their preview for Imagine RIT, and took First Place at the 2014 ASME Student Mechanism and Robot Design Competition as detailed here.

CAD model and Final Product
Preliminary CAD model
Final fish
Demonstration @ ImagineRIT
Project Name
Robotic Fish Powered by Hydraulic McKibben Muscles
Project Number
Project Family
Biomedical Track
Start Term
2131 (Fall 2013)
End Term
2135 (Spring 2014)
Faculty Guide
Rick Lux, ralddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard, kaleme@rit.edu
Dr. Lamkin-Kennard's Bioengineering Laboratory

Team Members

Team Members

Team Members

Team Member Role Contact
Felix Liu Controls and Electronics Lead ffl3883@rit.edu
Seaver Wrisley Lead Engineer sxw9637@rit.edu
Zachary Novak Project Manager zgn7003@rit.edu
John Chiu Mechanical Design Lead jxc9745@rit.edu


We'd like to thank the following people for their assistance during Senior Design this past year:

Dr. Mario Gomes and Shriya Gosavi for use of the tow tank
John Bonzo and the Brinkman Lab
Dave Hathaway, Rob Kraynik, and the ME Machine Shop
Scott Moss from Curbell Plastics
Kwadwo "Kojo" Opong Mensah for Arduino Bluetooth help
Sun and the CAST robotics lab
Our guide Rick Lux and customer Dr. Lamkin-Kennard

Table of Contents MSD I Home

Project Definition Systems Design Subsystem Design Detailed Design

Table of Contents MSD II Home

Subsystem Level Prep Subsystem Level Build & Test Subsystem & System Level Build, Test, Integrate Systems Level Build, Test, Integrate Verification & Demonstration of Results
MSD - The Postseason