Crabster CR200 Robot Prowls The Deep
The Crabster CR200, a 600Kg robotic crab, is taking its first steps in the alien world of underwater exploration. The Crabster robot was created by the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.
(Crabster CR200 onland walking without skin)
Besides the intense pressure at depths of more than a few tens of metres, strong tidal currents make it difficult to explore many important underwater locations. The Crabster's role will be to tackle places where the rough conditions don't suit propeller-driven craft. Unsurprisingly, shipwrecks are particularly common where the waters are rough and shallow, so the Crabster will have plenty of targets.
Another advantage to this mode of transport is that it will shake up less material from the ocean floor, assisting visibility. Power comes from an external source, allowing the Crabster to stay underwater almost indefinitely. Four people are required to operate the vehicle; a pilot, co-pilot in charge of lights and the gripping front legs, a navigator and someone to monitor and operate the sensing equipment. This all occurs from a remote station operating out of a shipping container near where the Crabster is deployed, using a 500m tether.
The robot crab from William Gibson's Neuromancer comes to mind. But an even earlier mention of the virtues of a crablike robot for exploring remote worlds is almost a century older - from H.G. Wells' 1898 classic The War of the Worlds:
...At first, I say, the handling-machine did not impress me as a machine, but as a crablike creature with a glittering integument, the controlling Martian whose delicate tentacles actuated its movements seeming to be simply the equivalent of the crab's cerebral portion.
(Read more about Wells' robot handling machine)
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