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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Prufrock The Newest Boring Machine
'It sounds to me as though you had invented a kind of metal earthworm...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
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.
A Passing Drone Has Covid-19 Advice
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up.'
Prototype Robotic Masseur Has The Touch
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently...'
Trash Sorting AI Robot Presages Skynet, Thanks A Lot
Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.
Electric Unicycle Is A Tumblebug
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'
Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'
reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'
Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'
Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'
Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.
NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'
Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'
No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'
As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'
Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'
Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'
Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories