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This 'Squidbot' Jets Around, Takes Pics of Coral, Fish

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The Squidbot demonstrates the water-jet propulsion it uses for locomotion.

University of California, San Diego engineers built a self-powered robot that can swim via water-jet propulsion.

Credit: Jacobs School News

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have constructed a self-powered squid-like robot that can swim via water-jet propulsion and record data on coral and fish with a camera or other sensor.

UCSD's Michael T. Tolley said, "This is the first untethered robot that can generate jet pulses for rapid locomotion ... and can achieve these jet pulses by changing its body shape, which improves swimming efficiency."

The robot is built from soft materials, along with some rigid, three-dimensionally-printed, and laser-cut components.

It absorbs water into its body while storing elastic energy in its skin and flexible ribs, then releases this energy by compressing its body, propelling itself with jets of water.

Testing showed the squid robot achieves a speed of roughly 18 to 32 centimeters per second (about 0.5 mph).

From UC San Diego News Center
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