Someday robots may lead fish to safety.  At least, that's the hope of Dr. Maurizio Porfiri, an Assistant Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and expert on the dynamics of schooling fish.  His knowledge has lead him to develop robotic leaders for groups of fish.  To our eyes they look distinctly un-fishy, but in the water, they are surprisingly lifelike swimmers.  It's their action, not their appearance, that convinces living fish to accept the robots as one of their own.  Porfiri hopes that his biomimetic robots may one day lead fish away from environmental hazards such as oil spills or underwater turbines.  Robots have long borrowed from nature- Maybe it's time they return the favor.

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