Underwater Robots – The stingray’s method of flying through the water could help us design a whole new class of bio-inspired ‘bots. The rays’ flapping glide could make for more efficient and agile underwater robots and submarines. In order to investigate why these flat fish move so strangely—”like a flag in the wind,” —the researchers mapped the fluid flows that occur around a stingray as it swims. They looked at the leading-edge vortex, the vortex in front of a moving object that helps birds and insects fly through the air. Their model shows that stingrays move through the water with the help of vortices that create a low pressure field in front of it, and high pressure near its back end. This moves the fish forward without it having to expend much energy.
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