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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Video: Meet FlipperBot, the Robotic Sea Turtle
23 April 2013 7:01 pm
One of the first activities of a sea turtle's life is crawling across a beach to get to the ocean. With predators, and distracting light pollution, this can be a tough journey for hatchlings to make. But the simple fact that these creatures walk on sand isn't trivial either; flippers are best used for swimming. To understand how hatchlings move on land, researchers created FlipperBot (FBot for short), the world's first mechanical creature to illuminate how flippers can be used to walk on soft terrain. Based on footage of hatchlings collected on the Georgia coast, FBot reveals how the creatures exert a force that will propel them forward, without simply causing their limbs to sink into the sand. The flexible "wrist" of a turtle helps reduce such slipping, and prevents the creature from winding up with a snootful of sand, the team reports online today in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. The researchers are putting the lessons learned from FBot to use on their next project: a robot that resembles the very distant human ancestor and fish-amphibian hybrid Ichthyostega, which could help paleontologists understand how primitive limbs allowed animals to crawl out of the water and onto land.
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