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This surf-and-turf robot swims using ribbon-like fins. And it's floated for US Navy approval

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Go

"It's similar to the propulsion in some aquatic animals like rays and squid."
It also resembles a snake in the way it wriggles across grass, snow, and ice.
To me it looks more like a robotic cuttlefish.

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Anonymous Coward

It looks a lot like a robotic anomalocaris.

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Black Helicopters

I for one, welcome our new undulating overlords.

I’d like to remind them that as a trusted personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their undulation caves.

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Re: I for one, welcome our new undulating overlords.

<waves>

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They remind me of...

Spanish Dancer flatworms... though perhaps not yet as pretty.

http://www.deepseanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/sapnish-dancer.jpg

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Re: They remind me of...

"...Spanish Dancer flatworms..."

Are truly stunning little beasties.

I've only ever seen two of them, both in the Red Sea and both at night.

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Re: They remind me of...

Snap!

I've seen one in in the Red Sea too! Only in the day time.

Our dive master pointed out two little shrimps wandering over it.

Hmmm, should they ape nature to that extent by having generic maintenance bots wandering over it?

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Boffin

Actually the first attempt at artifical muscle

was developed in the mid 60''s for use in prosthetics.

The design was literally a nylon stocking with a balloon inside it driven by air pressure (< 3 atm, which is low for pneumatic systems).

It was later used by Shadow Robotics to develop huamn scale (in size, weight and strength) robots.

I'm not sure how non linear it was.

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I wonder how it compares...

...with this.

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Alert

Re: I wonder how it compares...

That's just a modern version of the 1929 Fordson Snowmobile.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo31_3UzTTY

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Re: I wonder how it compares...

I was wondering if instead of using fancy technology to achieve undulating fins, simply rotating Archimedian screws couldn't achieve the same thing more simply. So it's been done.

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Joke

James Bond's future nemesis?

So when does it get its obligatory head mounted laser beam?

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Re: James Bond's future nemesis?

Single-use Cuttlefish-mounted SLBMs anyone?

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WTF?

Well D'oh

"It's amazingly agile because you can operate the fins on the two different sides."

I have a robot that only goes around in circles!

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Cutting edge

I like how in the illustration the sea grass comes up through the body work. That's real stealthy!

On second thought, don't use this for an underwater lawn mower, because apparently there is no cutting edge.

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Re: Cutting edge

Hey, if the server lets you /noclip than it'll probably also permit /notarget- the ultimate stealth, just watch the AI run around as if you're not there.

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Re: Cutting edge

Heh heh, I noticed that too. I guess as a startup they don't have big bucks for professional renderings.

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Anonymous Coward

"It's amazingly agile because you can operate the fins on the two different sides."

Presumably it is also very stable. Even if it lands on its back - it should just swap left and right controls and carry on.

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Awesome. People have been trying to get fish-like robots to swim properly for 20 years.

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Ringing a bell

This very much was ringing a little bell in my mind. It is really just a few of these in a line.

Mechanical Stingray with LEGO

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Mêhh...

I won't be impressed until they are armed with lasersdeathrays

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Eeling along...

The main thing this reminds me of is the wonderfully named Black Ghost Knife Fish - a member of the electric eel family and quite spectacular to watch. Essentially, it has a single "fin" running underneath it, which it oscillates in much the same way as I'm guessing that robot will.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gimQjPkvsNIv

It also means that unlike other fish, they're able to move backwards very easily, by reversing the oscillation...

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Possible Precursor

I recall seeing an illustration of a boat constructed by the Tissandier brothers in the late 19th century that was designed to test a propulsion system inspired by the way fish swim. The thing had a central longitudinal well, above which was mounted a fore-and-aft horizontal rod. On this rod were pivoted a series of vertical shafts attached to a long strip of stout fabric. Shafts and fabric extended through the well into the water. The drive train caused each shaft to swing back and forth in sequence, causing the fabric to undulate rhythmically and drive the vessel forward. It is said to have worked well, though it has obvious disadvantages for many of the purposes for which you'd want a boat.

I ran into this in an ancient bound volume of Scientific American, a long time ago. I'm surprised that it has not made its way into Wikipedia, which recognizes Gaston and Albert Tissandier primarily for their contributions to aerostatics.

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Interesting idea but...

...I'd be concerned about the number of moving parts in the final drive mechanism.

With a standard propeller system the final drive mechanism consists of the rotating drive gear/prop-shaft/propeller assembly, which operates as a single unit. With this system though, it looks like there are eight independent reciprocating drive servos, and their associated hinged actuators, per side. In addition, every time the drive actuators cycle, the flexible membranes or 'fins' are put through a corresponding stress/de-stress cycle.

The comparatively large number of moving parts in the final drive does not bode well for reliability and the reciprocating/hinged movement modes are not good from a wear point of view. Dunno how well the flexible membrane will stand up to fatigue.

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Re: Interesting idea but...

I take it you didn't read the bit about artificial muscle?

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