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 ")

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... ' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

Metalenses Now Reconfigurable With Liquid Crystal
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

NDB Nuclear Waste Battery Lasts A Lifetime
'Trillions of units of power could be compressed thus into an inch-square cube of what looked like blue-white ice.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1940.

Blaux Your Personal Commuter Cooling Unit
A cooling unit had to be strapped to every commuter's back, by law.

 

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

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

Bigrating Laser Beam-Riding Light Sail Is Self-Correcting
'That sail will be twenty thousand miles at the wide part.'

ISS Astronauts Test Estee Lauder 'Advanced Night Repair' Skin Serum
'Out in the New Moon, just ask for what you want...'

LG Wing Twisting Smartphone Might Be Fun
'A polycarbon screen unfurled...'

Mushroom Coffin Returns You To Nature, Naturally
'She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

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.