Acrobatics of STAR.V3

3D printing is a game changer. This is an amazing biomimetic robot that has a unique sprawl angle control, matching that of a giant Cockroach it seems to be just as nimble and effective.

In this video, the robot sprawls down and goes under a door then sprawls back up effortlessly like any bug. It is also shown mounting and clearing an obstacle by shifting its center of gravity in real time using a feedback loop of trial and error until the sweet-spot is found and it could continue. The resemblance to nature was so uncanny, it became creepy. It can run at speeds up to 5.2m/s (43 body lengths per second).

The robot was designed by David Zarrouk, Andrew Pullin, Nick Kohut and Ronald Fearing at the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, UC Berkeley. (Reference: ICRA 2013)

Pufferfish create amazing geometric, circular structure on sea floor.

Underwater cameras showed that the artist was a small puffer fish who, using only his flapping fin, tirelessly worked day and night to carve the circular ridges. The unlikely artist – best known in Japan as a delicacy [JAC: perhaps this is the fugu, or edible pufferfish that has a toxic liver], albeit a potentially poisonous one – even takes small shells, cracks them, and lines the inner grooves of his sculpture as if decorating his piece. Further observation revealed that this “mysterious circle” was not just there to make the ocean floor look pretty. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way along the dark seabed to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. In fact, the scientists observed that the more ridges the circle contained, the more likely it was that the female would mate with the male. The little sea shells weren’t just in vain either. The observers believe that they serve as vital nutrients to the eggs as they hatch, and to the newborns.

What was fascinating was that the fish’s sculpture played another role. Through experiments back at their lab, the scientists showed that the grooves and ridges of the sculpture helped neutralize currents, protecting the eggs from being tossed around and potentially exposing them to predators.

It was a true story of love, craftsmanship and the desire to pass on descendants.

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