RoboClam anchor based on sea creature

Inspired by the way razor clams dig into the seafloor sediment, MIT researchers have built a robotic anchor for autonomous water vehicles. About the size of a cigarette lighter, the prototype RoboClam imitates the way the real clam's "foot" works its way into the sand. Learn more at the MIT site and don't miss the video of a real razor clam in action. From MIT News:
 Newsoffice 2008 Roboclam-2-Enlarged "Our original goal was to develop a lightweight anchor that you could set then easily unset, something that's not possible with conventional devices," said Anette "Peko" Hosoi, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering whose collaborators on the work are Amos Winter, a graduate student in her lab, and engineers at Bluefin Robotics Corp.

Such devices could be useful, for example, as tethers for small robotic submarines that are routinely repositioned to monitor variables such as currents and temperature. Further, a device that can burrow into the seabed and be directed to a specific location could also be useful as a detonator for buried underwater mines.


  1. kind of like a geoduck stinger?

    If you could pack nano-tubes with something that contracted in volume when electric current was applied, bundle thgem in varying lengths and address the end for individual impulse control, would you have the makings for a decent tongue/tentacle?

  2. “useful as a detonator for buried underwater mines.”

    Or, you know, just as buried underwater mines. Nothing says “wink wink military applications” better than “can be used for demilitarizing”.

  3. looking at the razor clam again; all they need for an anchor is a ridged, semi rigid plastic tube and a pump. Tube end hits bottom, pump turns on, fluidized sand/silt/substrate liquefies and flows up hole perimeter as downward pressure bores to desired depth.Pump shuts off, sand etc. settles around outer tube ridges locking pipe in bottom. Turn pump back on when time to leave and use thrusters to go up. Either that or get a Wabbler.

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