Octopods, which are also known as octopuses or squid, are considered to be the most intelligent invertebrates. In fact, they have been referred to as the “sages of the sea”. They are capable of learning; they can open tin cans, and can even tell patterns apart. They are also clever when it comes to protecting themselves from their enemies. While they generally move along the ocean floor with their eight arms, they flee by swimming head-first, in line with the principles of propulsion. When the mollusk does this, water is taken into its mantle, which is then closed by contracting sphincter muscles. The water is then squirted back out at a high pressure through a funnel. The resulting propulsion pushes the octopus forward in the opposite direction. By changing the position of the funnel, the octopus can precisely steer its direction of travel. For researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, this intelligent propulsion principle served as a role model for the development of an underwater propulsion system. “Squids use this type of movement mainly if they are trying to flee suddenly and quickly. The system is simple, but effective. When they use it, the octopods can speed up considerably over short distances,” says Andreas Fischer, an engineer at IPA in Stuttgart. “We have integrated this propulsion principle into our underwater actuators: four elastomer balls with mechanical inner workings create propulsion by pumping water.”
Water is sucked into each actuator or elastomer ball through an opening ; a recirculation valve prevents reflux. A hydraulic piston contracts the integrated cable structure like a muscle. In this way, it pushes the water out of the 20 x 6 cm ball. In turn, a motor pump moves the hydraulic piston. “Our underwater actuator is well-suited for maneuvering small boats. It can also be used as a floating aid for water sport devices such as jet skis, surf boards, or scooters that pull divers into deep water. In contrast to ship propellers, it is quiet, and fish cannot get caught in it,” the researcher says in explaining the benefits of the system, which has just successfully past initial laboratory tests.
Industrial robots shorten production processes
The best part: the experts can produce the system in a single step with a 3D printer. In order to produce its complex geometry amorphously with soft plastic, the researchers opted for the fused deposition modeling generative production process, or FDM for short. With this approach, the plastics to be processed are heated and liquefied in an extrusion head , and are transformed into a thin filament in the pressure nozzle. This filament is then applied in layers, from bottom to top, to produce a complex 3D component. Fischer and his team used thermoplastics such as polyurethane because of their flexibility. The final product of this process is an underwater propulsion system that can stand extreme levels of pressure without breaking. Even in situations of very high stress, it always returns to its original shape….
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Chip inventories rise as demand falls
Wearables — How to attach a battery to your next wearables project
Electronics — Check out this shorthand shortcut
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: 400 CircuitPython Libraries, 3m Thanks and much more! #CircuitPython #Python @ThePSF @micropython @Raspberry_Pi
Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2022 in Recap!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProducts 1/25/23 Featuring #Adafruit ESP32-S2 Reverse #TFT Feather! @adafruit
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.