Underwater robot mimics stealthy cuttlefish

(Courtesy: Sepio YouTube)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A four-finned robot can swim just like a cuttlefish, which are in the same class as squid. New Scientist’s video post says that the robot copies the undulating swimming skills of the cuttlefish, resulting in a “low-key underwater robot” that can tackle obstacles in its way. The robot’s name is Sepio, and it reportedly has a design that allows it to easily move through seagrass and move in any direction.

Developers tested the four fins with the robot’s first dive in a pool. The robot is larger than it looks when it’s out of the water – taking two people to carry it out.

“Underwater plants are likely to get tangled in spinning blades, but Sepios was filmed diving into a forest of seagrass and then effortlessly moving through it, even in stormy conditions,” says New Scientist. “Propeller noise is also a threat to marine mammals: it stresses whales and misleads dolphins, and deflected sounds can cause injuries or death. In comparison, Sepios’s propulsion system is almost silent.”

Cuttlefish are reportedly better known for their power of disguise, and Sepios mimics that with its propulsion system — which doesn’t use motors. That makes for stealthy underwater observation. The robot’s resemblance to the marine animal could make it ideal for filming underwater wildlife, New Scientist says. That could potentially be used for research, exploration and learning.

 

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