Robo-Dolphin Demonstrates Porpoising

This biomimetic robot, a "robo-dolphin", swims at 4.5 miles per hour and compares well (considering its size) with a real dolphin.


(Robotic dolphin demonstrates "porpoising")

This water-bound robot, built by Professor Junzhi Yu and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, is loosely modeled on a spotted dolphin, and the leaping is not just for show. It's a step toward mimicking this behavior for better underwater vehicles with the speed, efficiency, and agility of dolphins.

A dolphin's incredible speed has long fascinated researchers. In 1936 biologist James Gray calculated that it should be impossible for dolphins to swim at speeds of more than 20 mph because of underwater drag. Known as Gray's Paradox, this puzzle wasn't completely solved until 2014, when aptly named biologist Frank Fish showed that a dolphin's tail generates much more force than previously thought. Still, our understanding of the dynamics of dolphin swimming is still changing and growing, which is why this robot is so important.

Yu's robotic dolphin is designed with particular emphasis on streamlining as well as a high-thrust tail powered by electric motors, as described in a new paper out this month. The flukes (tail fins) and flippers are miniature versions of the real thing. At 29 inches long and ten pounds, the bot overall is about one-third the size of an adult spotted dolphin.

The main load-bearing parts of the skeleton are made of titanium, with other sections made of steel, aluminum, and nylon. The skin and flippers are polypropylene. The robot is completely self-contained, and a lithium-ion battery provides more than three hours of swimming time.

SF fans may recall that, in his 2002 story Slow Life, science fiction author Michael Swanwick writes about robot fish who help explore distant worlds:

The Mitsubishi turbot wriggled, as if alive. With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.
(Read more about the Mitsubishi turbofish)

See also this robotic fish depicted in the 1988 TV series Red Dwarf:


(Robotic fish from Red Dwarf)

Update 02-Jan-2017: Check out the Search for the Silver Whale, or Under the Ocean in the Electric Dolphin (1902). End update.

Via Popular Mechanics.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/21/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1928.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosynthesis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.