2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
American engineers have created a foldable grip for safe catching of fish and other marine organisms for research purposes. It is powered by one motor and folds before the fish has time to swim away. Tests at a depth of several meters have shown the device's performance even on fast species of marine animals such as squid, the developers say in Science Robotics magazine.
Usually, researchers studying marine organisms use special devices to capture them, allowing them to fix the organism for further study. As a rule, they are cylinders with a removable lid, into which a fish or other organism of interest to scientists should swim, but this method of collection can be very long. In addition, there are special pumps with a conical receiver that suck in animals, but they can damage representatives of some species.
A team of engineers led by Robert Wood of Harvard University has developed a new grip that allows you to quickly capture the organism of interest without damage. The developers decided to simplify the grip as much as possible and used the origami technique for this, which allows you to turn a flat structure into a volumetric one. The design is designed in such a way that, despite the many details, it is driven by just one motor.
When folded, the gripper is a dodecahedron with auxiliary structures for folding. It consists of five separate 3D printed petals. The petals themselves and the auxiliary structures behind them are fixed on different shafts, one of which is connected to the motor, and the other is stationary. When turning the shaft with petals, auxiliary structures also turn and push the petals inward, as a result of which the gripper closes:
The principle of folding the gripper petal
Gripper folding scheme
The engineers used in the gripper an actuator capable of working at a depth of 11 kilometers, due to which the gripper can be used anywhere in the world ocean, into which an underwater vehicle can descend. Since diving to great depths requires an expensive device, the developers tested the device at depths of 500 to 700 meters in an underwater canyon in California's Monterey Bay. The hijacker was attached to a remotely operated unmanned underwater vehicle from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Engineers were able to successfully catch several organisms, including fast ones, such as squid. In the future, they plan to supplement the capture with a camera to quickly collect marine data without getting to the surface.
Recently, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled another device for studying fish without harming them. They created a robo fish with a built-in camera that can swim close to real fish without frightening them. During the tests of the device at sea, the engineers managed to bring the robot to the fish at a distance of a meter.