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Amazon electric fish inspire underwater robotics

16 February 2014 Last updated at 01:12 GMT

Electric fish from South America are opening up new ideas in robotics. Ghost knifefish, as they are known, put a small current through the water to sense their environment, and undulate a long fin to move around.

Scientists at Northwestern University in the US believe both features could be harnessed in a new class of autonomous underwater vehicle.

They are developing robots that will be able to swim around debris in total darkness, such as inside a sunken ship.

Professor and bioengineer Malcolm MacIver explains what the research aims to achieve.