Wow, of all the animal-like robots you've reported on, Ann, this one really takes a page from its animal muse. I could see these robot tunas combing through rough waters and countless fisherman after them for the daily catch. Amazing, in terms of design, any way.
Ann, this is really amazing, and one of the more appropriate bio inspired designs you have reported on. I was just wondering, though, if you put a bunch of them together, would they form schools? That would be a great sight. It might also help catch people fishing illegally.
Lou, schooling in fish is basically swarming behavior--the term swarming is taken from insects, but the collective movements and communication are the same idea in robotics, whether the model is a flock of birds, a swarm of insects or a school of fish. These robotic tuna were designed to operate individually, not in groups via swarming behavior. But that would be an interesting option.
It would be fantastic if this is used to detect small leaks (that often lead to bigger problems) in oil tankers, rigs, etc. They could be repaired before there's a problem. Being ablt to navigate through oily water, after a spill, is useful too.
We'll need the earthworm equivalent very soon to help with the new oil pipelines.
Nadine, I like your earthworm equivalent idea. There are robotic snakes/worms used in medicine for detecting various substances. I wonder if those, or similar technology, could be ruggedized and adapted for pipelines?
You bring up a very good point in regards to fishermen capturing tuna. I wonder if the design team thought about the fishing scenario and has provided a mechanism to protect there robot from fisherman. As always, Ann, a very good article on robotic applications. Keep them coming!!
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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