Scientists print robotic flippers based on sea lions

Most aquatic animals propel themselves with a tail or fluke, so roboticists have long been interested in the remarkable speeds possible by mimicking sea lion propulsion with front flippers.

Don't be fooled by a sea lion's big, sweet eyes and playful demeanor—these guys move through water like a torpedo. While most animals swim using a tail or fluke, sea lions clap their fore flippers into their bodies to propel themselves to incredible speeds. It's an elegant, efficient movement that land-dweller Megan Leftwich, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at George Washington University, wants to reproduce in robotic form.

How Sea Lions Are Inspiring the Future of Underwater Transport (YouTube / Great Big Story)