Some of the best designs that man has conjured up through the ages have been inspired by evolution, and it is no shame in taking a cue from what evolution has perfected over a course of millions of years. Researchers from MIT have created their latest robotic marvel in the form of “RoboClam,” and this little robot akin to a cigarette lighter buries itself deep in the sea bed and can act as an electronic anchor for underwater submarines. The technology behind the design and execution came from razor clams, tiny and slender sea creatures that bury themselves deep into the ocean’s sandy bed when in danger.
Razor clams are dubbed as the “Ferraris of underwater digging,” and the sleek creatures can dig into the ocean bed at a rate of a centimeter each second. To understand the success behind their digging ability, researchers conducted an experiment in which they were placed in boxes with sand so that their digging technique could be monitored. MIT scientist Anette Hosoi found that the clam’s quick up-and-down, opening-and-closing movements turn the waterlogged “sand” around it into a liquid-like quicksand. This made it easy for the clams to dig quicker and with less energy.
The RoboClam designed by MIT uses the same technique to better and obviously more efficient effect to act as underwater anchors for marine transportation. The tiny looking RoboClam in fact contains a pretty complex set of pressure regulators, pistons and other mechanical parts to control its movements to precision. In short, RoboClam translates evolutionary blueprint to modern technology.