MIT borrows techniques from one of nature's best diggers—the razor clam—to build a robotic anchor that can burrow down into the seabed to securely hold position, then dig itself back out when it's time to move. Look for smart anchors to begin appearing on submersibles for environmental monitoring as early as next year. R.C.J.
A smarter robotic anchor that can dig in was recently invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by borrowing techniques from one of nature's best diggers—the razor clam. MIT's smart anchors will be able to burrow down into the seabed like a clam to securely hold position, then dig themselves back out when it's time to move, according to MIT engineering professor Anette "Peko" Hosoi. Together with doctoral candidate Amos Winter and engineers at Bluefin Robotics (Cambridge, Mass.), MIT is mimicking the razor clam to build its robotic anchors.
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