Seahorse limbs are nearly unbreakable, so scientists thought why not replicate that to make a new flexible robot?
At Clemson University, researchers are working to create a robot inspired by a seahorse’s long curly tail. According to the researchers, this tail is the perfect design for its “square prisms surrounded by bony plates that are connected by joints.”
Why not use the design of other animals’ tails? Well, most animals have a cylinder shaped tail that is easily crushed.
Image via Clemson University
The researchers share their notes with TechCrunch:
“Researchers found that the square prototype was stiffer, stronger and more resilient than the circular one when crushed. The square prototype was about half as able to twist, a restriction that could prevent damage to the seahorse and give it better control when it grabs things. Both prototypes could bend about 90 degrees, although the cylindrical version was slightly less restricted.”
One of the researchers, known as “Porter,” believes this new discovery will “inspire new forms of armor,” as well as help create a new type of search-and-rescue robot that will be able to slither like a snake and “are able to contract to fit into tight spaces.”
Though there are already bio-mimetic robotic snakes out there, with this added new seahorse design it will be more flexible and able to fold without losing its structure. In tests, the seahorse robot was able to withstand the force of a hammer being smacked into its structure without making any dents, while cylindrical models were dented with the same impact.
This new design could be the beginning of new defensive pieces never heard of before.
Image: Via Flickr/Alex Griffioen