Seahorse is among the cutest sea creatures on the planet. But aside from looks and charm, it has some share on latest technological advancement that is needed in today’s research. After studying the makeup of seahorse tail, researchers at the Oregon State University found out that its mechanism can provide flexibility and smooth movements to stiff robots. They studied its mechanics using 3D-printed prototypes.
The small fish with horse-like head has a tail made of square prisms that allow it to grasp and move smoothly underwater. They aim to determine the difference between square prism tails and cylindrical tails; if one’s cross-sectional structure is better than the other.
Lead researcher and mechanical engineering Assistant Professor Michael Porter stated that “The square one just felt better. It felt like it basically fit together better and just performed more robustly, whereas the round one just didn’t really hold its shape well and just didn’t seem to fit together as well.”
The research team wants to develop better miniature robots and medical devices which will be used directly in contact with veins that will help detect diseases and treat ailments.
In the result of their study published in the journal Science, square-shaped devices work better than those in a cylindrical shape.
The tail of seahorses is made up of about three dozen square-like prisms and four L-shaped corner plates, which allows a seahorse tail-inspired device to enter and move into the veins without deformities.
The team is hopeful that the biological makeup of this creature will become an inspiration to engineers, and likewise, engineering can help further explore biology.
Source: Uncover California