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Designing a New Submarine? Look at Stingrays!

Thorny Stingray, Urogymnus asperrimus, Picture Peter Verhoog, Dutch Shark Society

Many of us have the privilege of watching stingrays moving: maybe on television or actually in the water during a dive (and if you have not yet seen it: watch stingrays swim in the clip below!)

Stingrays have a unique movement pattern: when they swim, stingrays swim, the vortices on the waves of its bodies create low pressure on the front and high pressure on the back, pushing it forward.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo and Harvard are studying stingrays’ swimming ability to make unmanned submarines more agile and fuel-efficient.

“Most fish wag their tails to swim. A stingray’s swimming is much more unique, like a flag in the wind,” said Richard Bottom, a UB mechanical engineering graduate student participating in the research.

Stingray movement ((Photo : Richard Bottom/ University of Buffalo)

These bio-inspired submarines could help with rescue or clean-up missions.

The age of Zoobotics
It is indeed the age of Zoobotics. The upcoming Stingray-inspired submarines will join the countless other robots that have been designed based on animal movements.

More info on this fascinating research?

For more info on Zoobotics:

Want to see how some stingrays swims? Watch this beautiful clip of rays in the Andaman Sea:

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