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Albatross Robot Takes Flight


An albatross glider skims the Charles River in eastern Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have created an albatross-like robot that can skim along the water's surface while also surfing the waves like a sailboat.

Credit: Gabriel Bousquet

Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have created an albatross-like robot that can skim along the water's surface while also surfing the waves like a sailboat.

The robot requires only one-third as much wind as an albatross and travels 10 times faster than a typical sailboat.

In the near future, the researchers envision teams of the robotic water-skimmers surveying large sections of the ocean.

Researcher Gabriel Bousquet says studying the oceans in relation to climate change is critical, but notes logistical challenges in doing so. "We can now use the energy from the environment in an efficient way to do this long-distance travel, with a system that remains small-scale," Bousquet says.

From MIT News
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