Efficient, Highly Maneuverable Artificial Fish for Stealthy Surveillance

Period of Performance: 06/30/2008 - 04/30/2009


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Avid LLC
120 Newsome Drive Suite A
Yorktown, VA 23692
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC


AVID LLC and Profs. Neu, Philen, and Stilwell of Virginia Tech propose development of an artificial fish using Flexible Matrix Composite actuator technology for propulsion and control. This innovative approach to fin actuation uses structurally integrated hydraulic actuators to avoid the losses associated with conventional means of driving bioinspired propulsors, and more closely match the exceptional performance of natural swimmers. Two main areas will be addressed in Phase I. First, computational studies using an unsteady vortex lattice method will quantify synergistic hydrodynamic interactions between individual fins and between fins and body flexibility, and will aid in designing the test vehicle. Secondly, FMC caudal and pectoral fins will be constructed and integrated into a tank test vehicle capable of propelling itself along a wire. The vehicle will be characterized for propulsive efficiency. If awarded, the Phase I option will address improved system miniaturization and packaging in preparation for free swimming tests in Phase II.