December 04 2008 / by christinep
Category: Technology Year: 2008 Rating: 4 Hot
RoboClam. The name merely conjures up an image of a robotic clam skidding along the ocean floor at top driving speeds. But upon closer examination, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Picture a ship anchor in the shape of an oblong razor clam the size of a cigarette. According to Anette Hosoi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “it turns out that clams are actually very fast diggers.” Seems like researchers are increasingly finding answers in nature.
How does it work?
The RoboClam uses its namesake to embed itself in the sand which enables the anchor to hold it’s place. It vibrates in order to turn surrounding mud into liquid. Its jaws then spread open, allowing a mechanical "feeler" to push down further into the ground. The hope is to eventually build one which can dig down up to three feet.
With the progression of technology in all aspects of the ship, it was only a matter of time before a huge element such as the anchor would be advanced. The traditional anchor was a giant heavy-duty piece of metal, now this light-weight device is being tested and refined to replace these iron monoliths. It seems like we are heading towards more smaller and sleeker devices, so the development of the smaller anchor is not that big of a surprise. But because ships are so big, it does raise the question: is this really going to be sturdy enough for a ship? Just something to think about.
Via Discovery News