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.
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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