Fishy Robot Designed To Dunk Into Europa’s Oceans
Picture: Artist’s squid-like depiction of a soft robot./NASA/Cornell University/NSF
Higlight: “The bio-inspired technologies we propose to consider bypass the need to power rovers with limited-lifetime batteries, large solar arrays or nuclear power,” co-principal investigator Mason Peck told Washington Post. “In this one respect, it is a breakthrough concept.”Another innovative feature is the bot’s “skin,” which would be composed of a stretchy, electroluminescent material capable of lighting up the environment as it goes, which would help its onboard imaging equipment produce decent underwater images.
Insight: Bio-luminescence is commonly used by deep sea species as a mean for communication. While studies have been conducted on mostly terrestrial species (e.g. glow worms) to understand the bio-chemical processes behind bio-luminescence, still many grey areas remain. Most research in modern lighting are focused on LED’s with little interest in the natural processes at work. Perhaps more attention should be given to light generation principles in species as it is likely that even more efficient lighting technologies could be derived. The fact that light sources could be generated for free using biological processes is largely unexploited. Potential application could range from street lights to remote systems..
Yet another good example of specific applications in robotics turning to nature for inspiration.
More information: here
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…