Robo-Clam that replicates a clam’s burrowing ability

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Digging with ease

Professors Amos Winter and Anette Hosoi from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a robotic-clam that imitates the clam’s ability to dig through sand using less energy and at a faster pace. The clam does so by moving its shells in a way which liquefies the sand around it, turning it into quicksand and enabling the clam bury with a speed of 1cm per second.

The clam makes use of its body and perfect timing to fluidize the particles of sand around and bury in. The robo-clam designed by the researchers has two halves that move together similar to an accordion and connected to a rod which can open and close the shell the way the clam does.

The robo-clam was tested in a compressed air system to power the expansion and contraction of the shell. The team is developing an electronic version for use with underwater vehicles. The research is a step towards developing anchorage which requires less energy and effort.

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