Robo-Dolphin Demonstrates Porpoising

This biomimetic robot, a "robo-dolphin", swims at 4.5 miles per hour and compares well (considering its size) with a real dolphin.


(Robotic dolphin demonstrates "porpoising")

This water-bound robot, built by Professor Junzhi Yu and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, is loosely modeled on a spotted dolphin, and the leaping is not just for show. It's a step toward mimicking this behavior for better underwater vehicles with the speed, efficiency, and agility of dolphins.

A dolphin's incredible speed has long fascinated researchers. In 1936 biologist James Gray calculated that it should be impossible for dolphins to swim at speeds of more than 20 mph because of underwater drag. Known as Gray's Paradox, this puzzle wasn't completely solved until 2014, when aptly named biologist Frank Fish showed that a dolphin's tail generates much more force than previously thought. Still, our understanding of the dynamics of dolphin swimming is still changing and growing, which is why this robot is so important.

Yu's robotic dolphin is designed with particular emphasis on streamlining as well as a high-thrust tail powered by electric motors, as described in a new paper out this month. The flukes (tail fins) and flippers are miniature versions of the real thing. At 29 inches long and ten pounds, the bot overall is about one-third the size of an adult spotted dolphin.

The main load-bearing parts of the skeleton are made of titanium, with other sections made of steel, aluminum, and nylon. The skin and flippers are polypropylene. The robot is completely self-contained, and a lithium-ion battery provides more than three hours of swimming time.

SF fans may recall that, in his 2002 story Slow Life, science fiction author Michael Swanwick writes about robot fish who help explore distant worlds:

The Mitsubishi turbot wriggled, as if alive. With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.
(Read more about the Mitsubishi turbofish)

See also this robotic fish depicted in the 1988 TV series Red Dwarf:


(Robotic fish from Red Dwarf)

Update 02-Jan-2017: Check out the Search for the Silver Whale, or Under the Ocean in the Electric Dolphin (1902). End update.

Via Popular Mechanics.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/21/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Galaxy Note 7 Kill Switch?
Keep right on quoting regulations, Mr. Savvik.

Solar Geoengineering Spray Cools, Heals
'the maintenance posts fire jets of tailored algae into the air stream.' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...' - Robert Heinlein, 1982.

MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'

ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'

EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'

AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'

Can Virtual Reality help People Cope With Pain?
Research is promising.

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Robot Motion Planning 10K Times Faster
'The robot crab... fired a burst of light, then froze...'

Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.'

Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'

DataTraveler Ultimate Generation 2 Terabyte Flashdrive
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary data spheres...'

HyperFace Aims To Foil Facial Recognition
'...A million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people.'

MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.