Interesting that you would look at it that way. But I do think you make a great point about the nature of FEA and other types of simulation. As these tools become more and more accessible and visual, they are instrumental in helping engineers leverage insights to work through problems in ways that otherwise would never had landed on their radar screen.
Looking at the FEA image its surprising the differences in apparent stresses on the front of the arm (red/yellow/green) compared to those of the similar geometry on the back side arm (deep blue).That's a big disparity and not what I would have expected to see in the relatively simple box beam design.I would have expected a more balanced distribution, based on the symmetry.Just goes to show how FEA can provide insight not necessarily intuitive for designers.
It does look like something out of one of those futuristic rescue movies. I too was impressed that the articulation arm approach can achieve the same effects in terms of movement whether in quicksand or through ice filled waters. While it was designed and built specifically to address the water/ice problem, the fact that there is applicability for other environments really expands the use case of the vehicle. It's now being used in a lot of seismic and oil and gas applications in the desert, apparently, and I'm sure they'll be more to come.
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