Traditionally robots have been purpose-built to conduct a single, very particular task. Still, researchers from Beihang University are putting up with a much different approach with a new automated drone that can regulate underwater just as easily as in the air, and it features a clever, nature-inspired trick for maximizing its spectrum.
When you think of robots, one of two editions probably comes to mind, I.e., the highly intelligent humanoids that science fiction has promised us or the mindless articulated arms administering repetitive tasks in factories. The recent approach is more or less where we’ve been for decades. Still, as technology gradually catches up to the imaginations of sci-fi writers, robot designers are starting to develop automatons eligible to perform a wider variety of actions. Boston Dynamics’ Spot, for instance, uses four dog-like legs to steer varied landscapes and carry out several missions, including conserving the ruins of Pompeii overnight and developing detailed 3D maps of areas too hazardous for humans to visit.
The team established an artificial interpretation of the remora fish’s suction disc through a four-layer strategy. They paired an ultra-flexible layer on top with more strict structures beneath and a layer with a system of small channels that can be enhanced when pumped full of liquid, rebuilding living muscle tissue to engage the lamellae structures to further boost the suction.