Biomimicry strikes again–this time with Snookie, an underwater robot that has an artificial sensory organ inspired by the “lateral-line system” seen in blind fish like the Astyanax. Snookie’s artificial organ is so accurate that it can sense obstacles and movements almost directly in front of it and on either side.
The robot, which is made out of Plexiglas and aluminum, features six propeller gondolas that drive the robot along with a yellow hemispherical nose that guides the vehicle’s sensors. Developed by researchers at the “>Technische Universitaet Muenchen, the autonomous robot measures changes in flow and pressure to figure out where it is going. It’s a system that mimics sensory organs found in organisms like the African clawed frog, which differentiates between different insects based on water-borne vibrations.
The researchers believe the Snookie-like robots could one day have practical applications far beyond the Jersey Shore. Eventually, they could be used to inspect sewer pipes, conduct search missions, and even find underwater airplane wreckage.