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Robot Inspired by Baby Turtles Can Swim Under Sand

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The robot's flipper-like appendages allow it to move under the sand.

The robot is the result of several experiments conducted by a team of roboticists at the University of California, San Diego, to better understand sand and how robots could travel through it.

Credit: UC San Diego Today

University of California, San Diego roboticists designed a robot inspired by turtle hatchlings that can move through sand at a depth of 5 inches and a speed of 1.2 millimeters per second.

The Wi-Fi-controlled robot generates propulsion and can steer with its flipper-like appendages.

Force sensors enable the bot to detect impediments above its body by monitoring changes in torque produced by limb movement.

Two foil-like surfaces or terrafoils on the sides of the bot's nose allow the researchers to control lift and maintain a level depth in the sand.

Experiments in a laboratory tank and on a beach showed wet sand, which offers greater resistance than dry sand, slowed the robot’s progress.

From UC San Diego Today
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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