Oct. 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM ET
The armada of swimming robots is set to grow this month when a sea turtle-inspired contraption takes its first dip in the water.
Researchers at ETH-Zurich chose to model the Naro-Tartaruga off the long-lived sea turtle because the creatures' rigid bodies are technically simpler to copy than the agile bodies of fish.
The big torso also has room to pack on sensor and batteries, which make the life of an autonomous robot turtle possible.
And though we tend to associate turtles with slowpokes, some species of sea turtles such as loggerheads can swim up to 15 miles per hour. This "naro," or "nautical robot," too, will be rather speedy, capable of cruising at 5 miles an hour.
Each fin has three actuators and operates independently, making the robot rather maneuverable as well.
Sensors on the prototype will measure pressure, temperature, location, as well as collect data on the energy efficiency of flapping propulsion.
What the robot will actually do when set loose is uncertain, but a key goal in its development is to better understand how to build autonomous underwater vehicles.
Yeah, real sea turtles may be endangered, but if they go the way of the dodo, at least we’ll be able to frolic in tropical waters with their robotic replacements. Wouldn't our robotic overlords be proud?
– via IEEE