Underwater Robot Mimics Manta Ray Swimming Style [Video]

July 28, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Remember the spider robot with six legs and the ability to move independently? Now we have another robot that could easily pass for a manta ray. It’s named Mantabot.

According to Professor Hilary Bart-Smith of the University of Virginia, this particular robot is meant to explore the future of bio-mechanical engineering by examining the unique way in which manta rays travel through water. We have had robots that fly in the air, now we have robots that can swim.

Mantabot is remotely controlled via computer commands. The plastic body of the robot contains electronics and a battery, while the flexible silicone wings contain rods and cables that expand and retract and change shape to facilitate movement.

“We are studying a creature to understand how it is able to swim so beautifully, and we are hoping to improve upon it,” said Bart-Smith. “We are learning from nature, but we also are innovating; trying to move beyond emulation.”

Basically, the Mantabot was designed to mimic the swimming style of a manta ray, and guess what, it does the mimicking really well. And looks really like a  manta ray.

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