Brentlim, as we mention in the article, this research is not theoretical, designed to come up with a generic swimming platform. Instead, it's 100% targeted at sports-related apps, specifically competitive swimmers, and optimized swimsuit design for same.
My thoughts as well. Why look to the human form for a model of a swimming platform? Fascinating project and quite a feat to be able to accomplish, but why not look to a more efficient model for swimming than the human form?
Hello Ann. I definitely will. Robotic systems fascinate me and each year ( if not each month ) there seem to be advancements that just amaze. I definitely will take a look at SWUM and see if I can gain additional information; then I'll certainly will let you know.
This research is aimed 100% at sports-related apps, as stated in the article (competitive swimmers, optimized swimsuit design for same). Not at anything as practical as search-and-rescue, or replacing lifeguards.
Yes, this is basic research stretched to its limits. I guess we never know when something like this could serve as a foundation for a breakthrough in another area, but it's hard to imagine what it could be.
This is a fascinating article and a good report but I must agree with Jerry, it seems to be a misuse of technical resources; i.e. time, money, CFD, etc. Then again, sometimes the greatest break-throughs comes from seemingly trivial pursuits. I think this exercise must be aimed at other than saving lives. I would like to know more about the control methodology and what language was used to program the device.
Having watched hundreds of lifeguard rescues using jet skis here on the Southern California beaches, I don't think any humanoid shape could match that performance. Watch how jet skis take surfers out to huge waves during professional competition, then speed out of the way of the huge wave before it breaks. Also, a skilled person paddling on a surfboard is faster than any human swimmer, as lifeguards also use surfboards for doing rescues.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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