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Someone Created A Sea Urchin Robot For Some Reason

Even though we're just at the tip of the iceberg of technological advancements, it seems like every second person is creating a robot of some sort. There are robots that deliver things to your house; robots that can perform heart surgery; and now, there's a sea urchin robot. Sure, I can understand why someone might want to create a robot to do a tedious task or perform it more precisely than humans can. But a sea urchin inspired robot... why? Well, I guess the answer is, why not? 

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  • gif of urchinbot moving itself with stretchy green leg
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    Via Giphy

    Sea urchins are weird. They have shells covered in hard movable spines, soft tubular leg things with sticky feet, and they can squeeze themselves into tiny places. They get around by attaching their sticky little feet to surfaces and pulling themselves along, which isn't exactly speedy, but it works for them. 


  • gif of urchin robot pulling itself along with legs
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    Via Giphy

    Some researchers at Harvard University thought that it would be cool (or useful - but how?) to make a sea urchin robot. So they did. The UrchinBot "incorporates anatomical features unique to sea urchins," and it's definitely the strangest robot we've ever seen. 




  • gif of urchinbot robot moving spikes underwater
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    Via Giphy

    The UrchinBot replicates juvenile sea urchins in particular detail, copying the movements of their appendages, the shape of their spines, and the little green tubey feet that use magnets instead of natural glue to stick themselves to surfaces. It works underwater (as it should) and it's maximum speed is 6 millimeters per second. 



  • gif of urchinbot robot twisting itself with legs on black background
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    Via Youtube

    Harvard researchers say that the UrchinBot could be useful for underwater cleaning and inspecting applications, especially in situations that might be awkward for more conventional robots. While we can't really see the urgent need for underwater cleaning robots that mimic sea urchins, I guess there are worse ways you can spend your time than making robots. Whats next, a sea cucumber robot?


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