Believing that the movement of the fishes in the water would help enhance the motion of all underwater vehicles, the U.S. Navy has granted a $258,008 research fund to the researchers of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU).
Leading the research is Oscar Curet, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ocean & Mechanical Engineering in FAU. Curet's studies for the past years are the movement of the Knifefish, an animal that can be found in the freshwater of Panama and South America.
"As an engineer, we try to solve problems, and nature has solved some of the problems that we are facing, and one of them is mobility," PC World quoted Curet as saying.
According to Fox News, Curet has spent a number of years just to study the fish-like robots, and now, he has a new 16-motored robot with blade-like knife fish. He has created it together with his co-researchers at the FAU to properly identify the differences between engineering systems and what really occurs in nature. To create said 16-motored robot, they made a prototype composed of 3D-printed materials, 16 motors, and a number of sensors.
"I'm interested in the fluid dynamics of biosystems. I believe that the kind of flexible structures we see in many types of animal propulsion can transform the way that robots propel and maneuver. The knife fish has a wide range of capabilities. They have a large fin they can manipulate to move forward, backwards, and otherwise generate a big range of rich motions that aren't seen in many animals," Fox News reported.
It could be remembered that it was not the first time that they received a grant from the U.S. Navy. They were also given a grant by the same agency to fully equip their prototype with a Volumetric Particle Image Velocity System, or PIV, which has four cameras synchronized with a laser light that would capture currents in three dimensions. Researchers said that it would help them measure how fluid dynamics interact with the flexible propulsors with the end in mind of looking on what could make underwater vehicles more maneuverable.