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July 1, 2010 / Martijn

Lizard-like robot can ‘swim’ through sand

TO ADD to the robots that can crawl over land, fly through air and swim underwaterMovie Camera comes one that can swim through sand. Such robots could help find people trapped in the loose debris resulting from an earthquake.

Navigating through sand is harder than moving through water or air because sand can behave as both a solid and a fluid. We have no equations to describe how such substances flow, let alone to predict how an object can “swim” efficiently through them.

But the sandfish lizard, Scincus scincus, can travel through sand effortlessly, so Daniel Goldman and Ryan Maladen’s team at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta decided to find out how they do it. They found that once the sandfish is submerged, it tucks its limbs into its sides and propels itself forward by wiggling from side to side.

via Lizard-like robot can ‘swim’ through sand – tech – 25 June 2010 – New Scientist.

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