Fishy Tech and Robo Clams

I have always believed that everything we need to live and thrive can be found on the earth and I don’t mean just food and shelter.  It just takes someone with the ability to see what is already there to make it happen.  I think we dismiss nature too much in favor of man made technology and ignore simple and effective solutions to problems that have already been solved, by nature.

Some interesting examples:

How Fishy Technology Could Power the Future

Think like a fish not like a bird, say researchers trying to harvest energy from water currents. Their new fish-inspired power generator can work in slow-moving currents where traditional turbines are less effective.

Tidal streams and moving rivers in the United States could generate 140 billion kilowatt-hours per year, or about 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity demand, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Most of the attempts to tap this potential have employed underwater windmills. These so-called tidal turbines use the force of lift to turn their blades.

“We live in air so we are used to lifting surfaces that support birds, sail boats and airplanes,” said Michael Bernitsas of the University of Michigan.

In water, however, Nature has devised a different strategy. Most natural swimmers — from tiny sperm to giant whales — create vortices (or little whirlpools) that they push off of to propel themselves forward.

RoboClam


The simple razor clam has inspired a new MIT robot that could lead to a “smart” anchor that burrows through the ocean floor to reposition itself and could even reverse, making it easier to recover.

The so-called RoboClam is being developed to explore the performance capabilities of clam-inspired digging, as well as to shed light on the behavior of the real animal.