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In an attempt to clean oceans of microplastics, Chinese scientists have developed robot fish that would "eat" the tiny plastic particles. Chinese scientists from Sichuan University in southwest China have created 1.3 centimetres (0.5 inch) in size robot fish.

The team aims to enable the robot to collect microplastics in deeper water and provide information to analyse marine pollution in real time, said Wang Yuyan, one of the researchers who developed the robot.

"We developed such a lightweight miniaturised robot. It can be used in many ways, for example in biomedical or hazardous operations, such a small robot that can be localised to a part of your body to help you eliminate some disease."

The robot fish is irradiated by a light, helping it to flap its fins and wiggle its body. According to Reuters, byusing the light, scientists can control the fish to avoid it crashing into other fish or ships.

The researcher said if one of the robot fish gets eaten by another fish, it can be digested without harm as it is made from polyurethane, which is also biocompatible.

WHAT CAN THE FISH DO?

The robot fish will be able to absorb pollutants. It has also been made in such a way that it can recover itself even when it is damaged. It can swim up to 2.76 body lengths per second, faster than most artificial soft robots.

"We are mostly working on collection (of microplastics). It is like a sampling robot and it can be used repeatedly," she said.

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