Thursday, December 3, 2009

Robotic Clam Could Detonate Underwater Mines

Inspired by the amazing ability of the small clam to dig and wedge itself far deeper and more securely than would be thought, they show the robo-clam. Credit: Donna Coveney

From Live Science:

Robot clams may one day help dig up and detonate buried underwater mines, researchers now reveal. They could also serve as smart anchors for robot subs or deep-sea oil drilling.

Mechanical engineers Anette "Peko" Hosoi and Amos Winter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology designed robots after the Atlantic razor clam (Ensis directus) because it is one of nature's best diggers. Using its relatively simple anatomy, the razor clam — which the researchers dubbed the Ferrari of underwater diggers — can burrow into the bottom of its native mudflats at a remarkable rate of roughly a centimeter per second.

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