Robot dives underwater wrecks by mimicking sea turtle movement

Nov 29, 2013
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One of the most hazardous of underwater jobs is diving shipwrecks. Divers explore shipwrecks to retrieve objects of historical significance or to help in recovery efforts. The work is so hazardous that much of it is carried out by unmanned robots.

The typical underwater robot uses propellers to get around, but that form of propulsion isn't ideal. The reason propellers aren’t ideal is because they stir up silt from the bottom of the ocean and obscure visibility.

Another problem with typical underwater robots is that many of them require tethers for control and power. A new robot called U-CAT has been developed that uses a novel propulsion method and requires no tether. U-CAT is small enough to fit into very compact spaces.

It also has no tether and uses flippers for propulsion. The flippers move in a manner very similar to sea turtles and allow the robot to turn and hover in place without knocking up lots of silt from the ocean bottom. The robot has a camera allowing it to record what it sees for inspection. The first tests of the U-CAT robot will be conducted in the Baltic Sea.

SOURCE: Discovery


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