Thanks to millions and millions of years of evolution, sea turtles work. They work well. They can swim stealthily around the ocean, sliding between chunks of coral if necessary. That in mind, it’s no wonder the sea creatures are the inspiration for the latest underwater robots.
The U-CAT hails from Estonia, but it’s bound for the bottom of the ocean. With flippers designed after sea turtles’, these little guys are have been built to fit into the narrowest nooks and crannies of underwater shipwrecks and take crystal clear pictures. “Conventional underwater robots use propellers for locomotion,” says Taavi Salumäe, the biomimetic robot’s designer, in a press release. “Fin propulsors of U-CAT can drive the robot in all directions without disturbing water and beating up silt from the bottom, which would decrease visibility inside the shipwreck.”
This isn’t the first robot to borrow from sea turtles, but their small size and relatively cheap construction bear big implications for the field of underwater archaeology. Meanwhile, watching them dance through the water is pretty mesmerising for the rest of us. [Discovery]