The Serpent remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from Seaview Systems is designed for exploring very small-diameter pipelines. It can investigate conduits as small as 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, and fit around bends with a radius as narrow as 27 inches (68.5 cm). Measuring 9 inch x 9 inch x 57 inch (23 cm x 23 cm x 145 cm) and weighing 70 lb (32 kg), the Serpent runs on two 300W brushless DC motors that give it a total forward thrust of 18 lb (8 kg). With a 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) diameter fiber-optic tether, it can explore as far as 6,000 ft (1,830 m) down a pipe or tunnel. A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two color cameras are included, along with two 70W high-intensity LEDs. The robot also has heading, pitch and roll, and depth sensors, as well as sonar. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels. (Source: Seaview Systems)
Nice slideshow Ann. Quite a wide range of differences in structure. It would be interesting to know whether the robots designed to look like sea creatures are intrinsically superior to the clunky looking water bots.
Thanks, Rob, I've had the same basic question. The clunky ones have been aorund a lot longer--in fact, last week I saw James Cameron's movie The Abyss (1989) again, and noticed the ROV in it looks just like many in use today, 24 years later. So presumably, the clunky ones are still perfectly serviceable for what they do. OTOH, I suspect the designers of the biomimicry-inspired ROVs and AUVs, and their funders, are interested in finding out whether animal-inspired designs will be more energy-efficient, and/or more cost-effective.
Nice to know that the anti-submarine warfare vessel is designed to operate entirely without human presence. On the few occasions when I've had a chance to go on board submarines, I've always been amazed how cramped and tiny they are. (They look much bigger in the movies.) BFor a human to be confined to a sub for any length of time appears to be a very tough assignment.
What an interesting question, Ann. Perhaps in water, the size and shape of the robot is not as important as it would be on shore. That is, unless speed is a factor. In that case, a shape with the least resistance would likely be superior.
An autonomous robotic vehicle for exploring lakes on other planets has been developed by researchers in the University of Arizona's department of electrical and computer engineering. Something like a nautical version of a planetary rover, the lake lander, also called the Tucson Explorer II (TEX II), could be used to investigate the liquid hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Although it will be a while before TEX II goes on a mission to Titan, it can be used on Earth to clean up littoral munitions dumps and mines, as well as harbor surveillance, environmental research, and search and rescue operations in oceans, lakes, and hazardous environments. Controllable via an Internet connection, TEX II has cameras and sonar operational up to 100 m. Its catamaran design provides stability, with two 6-ft long fortified Styrofoam hulls about 5 ft apart. The Styrofoam lets the lake lander withstand hull damage while maintaining buoyancy of its 100-lb weight and 150-lb payload.
Seems like it has to much windage which may not be a problem on other planets but it is "air" driven! They even mention cleaning up mines. I assume that to be old fashion ship exploders! These thing are all swaming mines ready to go get your billion dollar aircraft carrier. NK should forget the nukes and make these. Air dropped in front of the path of a navy fleet, oh my goodness. Boom! What the heck was that? Boom! Boom! Boom!
This is a very interesting and informative slideshow, thanks Ann. There are certainly a variety of them around, for all sorts of applications.
It the floats on the one intended to explore those hydrocarbon lakes on Titan are really sytrofoam, though, I predict failure, since most hydrocarbon liquids disolve styrofoam, some faster, some more slowly, but most, eventually.
Excellent slide-show Ann. I must admit, when I think of robotic systems I think manufacturing. It's an eye-opener to see other viable applications for these devices. The underwater environment can be extremely hostile and certainly a place for robots. I imagine design criteria being quite different for underwater as opposed to above water. Seals and water-tight enclosures look to be a must to protect against issues with electronics and data-gathering equipment. Again, great post.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.