An eel-like robot serving research


As part of their Master Thesis, two former students in engineering (mechatronics) built an “eel-like” robotic swimmer.

The starting point of this project is a numerical solver in fluid mechanics developed in the framework of a PhD thesis. It aims at understanding how a swimming eel interacts with its fluidic environment through simulations. The Master Thesis objectives were set in order to validate the 2D solver by reproducing the same flow around an actual device.

Both students conducted the whole design cycle: they clarified the project objectives, wrote down the specs list, evaluated concurrent solutions, and eventually dimensioned, produced, and assembled the mechanical parts. The final robotic structure was produced by combining various techniques of rapid prototyping (including 3D printing) and conventional machining. The robot is controlled with a microprocessor (Arduino Nano) so that it can produce similar movements to the simulated eel.

Follow-up Master Theses are now being launched in order to compare the kinematic and dynamic profiles of both the simulated and robotic eel, such as the structure of the flow being generated around both entities.

(texte en français ci-dessous)

Contact: Renaud Ronsse (, Philippe Chatelain ( and Caroline Bernier.

Un robot-anguille au service de la recherche 

 Les mémoires de fin d’étude sont l'aboutissement d’une formation continue qui mène notamment à travailler en étroite collaboration avec des instituts de recherche. Cette année académique, des étudiants en master ingénieur civil électromécanicien option mécatronique ont réalisé un “robot anguille”. Celui-ci permet de reproduire un écoulement caractéristique qui sera comparé avec des simulations numériques de précision.

Published on October 13, 2017