Tuesday, November 26, 2013

U-Cat Robot Turtle: Underwater archaeologists to inspect shipwrecks

The Robot Safari in London Science Museum will see the world premiere of the underwater robot U-CAT, a highly maneuverable robot turtle, designed to penetrate shipwrecks.

U-CAT's locomotion principle is similar to sea turtles. Independently driven four flippers make the robot highly maneuverable; it can swim forward and backward, up and down and turn on spot in all directions.

Maneuverability is a desirable feature when inspecting confined spaces such as shipwrecks. The robot carries an onboard camera and the video footage can be later used to reconstruct the underwater site.

"U-CAT is specifically designed to meet the end-user requirements. Conventional underwater robots use propellers for locomotion. Fin propulsors of U-CAT can drive the robot in all directions without disturbing water and beating up silt from the bottom, which would decrease visibility inside the shipwreck", says Taavi Salumäe, the designer of the U-CAT concept and researcher in Centre for Biorobotics, Tallinn University of Technology.

"The so called biomimetic robots, robots based on animals and plants, is an increasing trend in robotics where we try to overcome the technological bottlenecks by looking at alternative technical solutions provided by nature ", explains Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa, a Head of Centre for Biorobotics.

Credit: Centre for Biorobotics, Tallinn University of Technology

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