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Jellyfish-inspired robot moves like nature’s most efficient swimmer

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When it comes to developing robots that can move efficiently through water, scientists regularly turn to creature’s like squid and jellyfish for inspiration, and a UK research team has just produced one that can swim with the best of them. The soft and flexible robot uses a novel propulsion method to move much like the most efficient swimmer found in nature, and carries a set of attributes its creators say are well suited to operating near fragile and sensitive underwater environments.

The robot was created by a team of engineers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh, who sought inspiration from what is considered nature’s most efficient swimmer, Aurelia aurita, or moon jellyfish. The robot mimics the locomotion of this marine creature with the help of what the engineers call a “propulsive bell.”

This consists of a rubber membrane that encases a set of eight 3D-printed, flexible ribs, with a small piston positioned at the robot’s upper body. This piston punches the propulsive bell which causes it to expand and then spring back to its original shape repeatedly, producing jets of fluid that propel the robot through the water.

This imitates the swimming technique used by jellyfish and when the bell is struck at just the right frequency, the robot was able to swim at a rate of one body length per second and equal the efficiency of the Aurelia aurita. This phenomenon is known as resonance and refers to the large vibrations that result from the application of force at just the right frequency, much like pushing a child on a swing.

A schematic of the highly efficient jellyfish-inspired robot
A schematic of the highly efficient jellyfish-inspired robot

University of Southampton

According to the scientists, this is the first time resonance has been demonstrated as a form of propulsion in a submersible, and the technique enables the robot to swim 10 to 50 times more efficiently than comparable underwater robots driven by propellors.

“Previous attempts to propel underwater robots with jetting systems have involved pushing water through a rigid tube but we wanted to take it further so we brought in elasticity and resonance to mimic biology,” says co-author Thierry Bujard. “I was really surprised by the results, I was confident that the design would work but the efficiency of the robot was much greater than I expected.”

Because the robot features a soft and flexible exterior, the scientists believe it could one day prove useful in exploring fragile environments, such as coral reefs, archaeological sites or areas frequented by human swimmers. The team will now turn its attention to fitting out the robot with the tech needed for these kinds of applications.

“There are still many challenges and exciting possibilities to explore with soft underwater robotic technologies,” says Dr Gabriel Weymouth from the University of Southampton. “We are now looking to extend the concept behind this robot to a fully maneuverable and autonomous underwater vehicle capable of sensing and navigating its environment.”

The research was published in the journal Science Robotics, while the video below contains raw footage of the robot in action.

Underwater robot inspired by nature’s strongest swimmer

Source: University of Southampton via EurekAlert

Source: https://newatlas.com/robotics/jellyfish-inspired-robot-efficient-resonance/

NEWATLAS

Hidden Egyptian handbook reveals secrets of mummification

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A recently discovered text written around 1450 BCE contains previously unknown details about Egyptian mummification process

A 3,500-year-old Egyptian medical text is shedding new light on the ancient practice of mummification. Recently discovered inside a much larger work, the papyrus document being studied by University of Copenhagen Egyptologist Sofie Schiødt is the oldest known mummification manual.

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Category: Science

Tags: University of Copenhagen, Mummies, Archaeology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/egypt-mummification-manual-louvre-carlsberg-copenhagen/

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NEWATLAS

Lasers and plasma shockwaves used to measure ripeness of fruit

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Researchers in Japan have developed a contactless way to measure the ripeness of soft fruit like mangoes

Judging how ripe a piece of fruit is can be a frustrating process for everyone from farmers to shoppers. Now, researchers at Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan have developed a new high-tech way to check, without touching or damaging soft fruit like mangoes. All it takes is a laser and some plasma shockwaves.

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Category: Science

Tags: Food, Fruit, Laser, Food technology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/fruit-ripe-lasers-plasma-shockwaves/

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NEWATLAS

Broadcasting tech swaps stadium ads for regional advertising

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Examples of the system showing two different ads (A,B) along with the magenta screen (C) which neither stadium audiences nor TV viewers see

When viewing sports coverage from other countries, it’s common to see sideline advertising boards that are promoting products you’ve never even heard of. This new TV system is capable of digitally replacing the content of those boards, so they’re advertising region-specific products.

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Category: Good Thinking, Lifestyle

Tags: Fraunhofer, Sports, Advertising, Broadcast, Television

Source: https://newatlas.com/good-thinking/fraunhofer-vibotec-sports-advertising/

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NEWATLAS

Scientists calculate life expectancy of Earth’s atmospheric oxygen

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An artist's interpretation of the atmosphere of Archean Earth, prior to 2.4 billion years ago. A new study suggests it may return to this oxygen-poor, methane-rich atmosphere in about 1 billion years' time

The Earth has an expiry date – in about five billion years, the Sun will expand and swallow up our home world. But it turns out life on Earth could have a much earlier end point. A new study has found that in about a billion years’ time, the atmosphere will lose most of its oxygen rapidly, which may have important implications in the search for life on other planets.

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Category: Environment, Science

Tags: Oxygen, Atmosphere, Earth, Geology, Exoplanet, Extraterrestrial

Source: https://newatlas.com/environment/earth-atmosphere-oxygen-life-expectancy/

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