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)
Ann, watch some of those fish in the big aquarium at your local zoo. There are a few of them that are huge when viewed from the side, and they really do become hard to see when they turn and swim away. My guess is that it is that way to confuse predators.
Rob, sometimes efficiency and streamlining are not the only consideration. Watch some of those fish at the aquarium, some very big fish disappear when they are viewed from the front or the rear. And you don't see very many fish with missile launching abilities.
William is right about shape mattering even more in water than it does in air as far as a fish--or a robot's--speed, maneuverability, and efficiency and therefore power consumption. Just think how much harder it is to swim through water than to walk through air, and the muscles swimming gives your arms as a result.
Rob, shape matters a whole lot in the water and under it, much more than it matters in air. Not only that the greater density takes a lot more power to move it out of the way, but also that the friction of moving through water is greater. One large difference though is that water is generally not compressible,at least not like air.
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.