Engineers have created a transformer: robot's legs turn to water

Engineers have created a transformer: robot's legs turn to water

Researchers at Yale University have created a robot that turns legs into lashes before jumping into water, and the creation of "adaptative morphogenesis" has inspired scientists to study terrestrial and aquatic turtles.

Land and water turtles have similar bodies with four limbs and shells, but different forms of limbs help these animals adapt to the environment in which they live, and researchers have decided to repeat their evolutionary experience to create a universal robot that travels equally well on the ground and in the water.

The limbs use hard materials and artificial muscles to transform shape from one medium to another. In the ground configuration, the robot moves over land on four legs. By reaching the water body, it turns its legs into lashes, allowing it to swim.

Usually robot amphibians use different mechanisms for each medium, which increases energy costs, explains the developers. The new device just adapts the same mechanisms.

A robot transformer can be used to monitor ecosystems along the coastline, to support divers and to grow aquaculture, and scientists plan to study the physics of movement in a complex area where waves, currents and turbidity make navigation difficult for conventional devices.