Squid Robot Underwater Inspector Has Unique Propulsion

A "squid-type" underwater robot developed by Osaka University in Japan was demonstrated in a Kobe swimming pool on October 21st as part of an underwater robot festival.


(Squid-type underwater robot in motion)

Although they refer to this as a "squid-type" robot; it does not propel itself by shooting jets of water backward. It moves and maneuvers itself in an unmistakably biomimetic (animal-mimic) way, though. It uses rubber panels on the sides to "fly" in a manner more similar to skates and stingrays, curling them rhythmically for forward thrust. It has been designed with a flat body to easily enter narrow spaces.


(Osaka Robot squid detailed picture)

There are some species of squid that have similar movements to their flukes or tails (see photo below).


(Living squid swims)

According to the Osaka University's Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, underwater robots will have a greater scope of applicability and potential research than bipedal robots:

In addition to the precise control technologies needed to move robots in water and the systems to maintain their attitude in extremely unstable currents, brand new propulsion systems are being imagined for robots being designed to monitor ocean environments, search out underwater resources as well as perform other underwater missions.

Here's a quick peek at some other robots that imitate animals to get around:

Also, fans of science fiction writer Murray Leinster might remember the Wabbler autonomous underwater robot from his 1942 short story of the same name.

Read a bit more about the squid-type underwater robot. See more squid underwater robot pictures.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/12/2006)

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