The Ocean's Future Spies

| October 18, 2001

The Ocean's Future Spies,
A Norwegian scientist is putting remote-controlled backpacks on fish, rendering them 'fishbots' capable of doing humankind's errands underwater, according to a report on When placed on a fish, the backpack allows them to be steered remote-control style by stimulating their muscles electronically. The inventor, Jens G. Balchen, says the new technology could be useful for ocean research, or for checking pipelines and wrecks. He expects to find commercial uses for the backpacks within a few years. The fishbots raise concerns about a possible military application of the technology, but Balchen says that's not likely. Balchen's research also found that certain fish work best with the backpacks. 'Cod are too strong-willed and hard to steer,' he says. 'Salmon are stupid.' So what fish has the right combination of stamina and personality to be bionic? Balchen says it's Pollack.
--Kate Garsombke
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