Robot Ray

The robot ray Galatea will never get tangled in seaweed or ropes. This is because it does not have a propeller. Instead, it is propelled by making wave movements with long fins on each side of its hull. This form of propulsion provides a great deal of stability. The robot ray can also lie on the sea bed in order to save energy. Such a robot could be useful for searching for blue algae, terrorists and sea mines. For years, ir. Tim Vercruyssen has been working on the development of Galatea within the biomechatronics and biorobotics research group. He started in 2009, as part of a student project. He is now completing his doctoral research on the topic. Vercruyssen is collaborating with a former classmate, ir. Sebastian Henrion. After graduating from TU Delft, Henrion went on to Wageningen University to study the swimming behaviour of seahorses and squid. Whenever Henrion discovered new swimming movements in these animals (such as movements that allowed them to turn efficiently or to drift), he would send his findings to Vercruyssen, who would then incorporate them into the artificial ray. The duo have now started a project in which they aim to make an entire swarm of underwater robots cooperate.

Foto: Sam Rentmeester

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