Biomimetic file 108: subsea robot inspired from.. a crab!

Yes it’s RoboCrab! A new sub-sea robot has been developed inspired from a crab.

“Moving along the ocean floor is different to steep hillsides or icy slopes so the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology has used crustaceans as its muse, naming their 600 kg monster the Crabster CR200…The Crabster’s role will be to tackle places where the rough conditions don’t suit propeller-driven craft.”

As we are only starting the process of replicating natural traits through the use of technology, many aspects of modern robotics have already taken their inspiration from nature. In robotics walking patterns mimicking movements of various animals have significantly contributed to the field should it be through the study of small insects or large mammals such as kangaroos. Other developments of robotics have also made use of simple neuron transmission patterns studied in primitive insects (e.g. cockroaches).

From an energy point of view, when studying nature we find that  adaptations have favored developments going towards solutions of lowest energy; in other words species move and behave according to optimal energy efficiency patterns. This is logical considering the fact that life on earth is a constant struggle for survival and feeding. To achieve this the calorific value of food being transferred as energy is optimized.

Furthermore, physical and physiological traits within species are highly adapted for specific tasks. For instance certain species of crabs have developed on rocky terrains to become effective at making their way through them. In the specific case of “RoboCrab” such rove mimicking crab walking patterns are therefore more efficient at undertaking tasks at the bottom of the ocean in inhospitable environments (e.g. rocky bottom) than conventional roves. Such design will significantly reduce failure rates (and thus cost saving) for a range of applications ranging from pipe repairs, sub-sea welding or other precision tasks on the rocky ocean floors.


Photo credit: KIOST This underwater vehicle looks creepy enough still, wait until you watch it walk

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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…


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