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MIT Robot Eel Made Up Of Voxel Segments

MIT researchers have created a new robotic eel using lattice-like pieces called voxels which speed up development of new robotic forms.


(From popsci)

The teamís new design relies on lattice-like pieces called voxels, which are stiff in structure yet still low-density, and allow for large scalability potentials. The voxels are made to be load-bearing in one direction, yet soft in others through a combination of various materials and proportions, including cast plastic pieces. The entire design was then encased in a rib-like support material, and all of that was covered in waterproof neoprene.

To demonstrate these advances, the team created a meter-long, eel-like robot composed of four structures, each made of five voxels. An actuator wire attached to each endís voxel allows the robot to undulate accordingly, causing the snakebot to move through water. Unlike the two-year construction time for its Robotuna ancestor, however, the new robot only took two days to build.

(Via popsci)

Science fiction fans may recall the robot eel from Re:Set, by Susan Beetlestone, published by Tutka Books in 2012.

It was a small electronics lab, but I took no note of anything but the Eel. It was about five feet long, a silver flexiprene-covered body like a fat snake, a black bullet head and red camera eyes. I was puzzled that they had it tethered inside a wire cage... The Eel flexed its body, rattling the cage, and moved its head to look directly at me.

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