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Anchor Lede: Most animal tails are round, but a seahorse’s tail is square. Engineers want to know why…partly because it might be good for making things like robots.
Randy Atkins: The square shape of a seahorse tail skeleton seems to protect it from predators says Michael Porter, an engineer at Clemson University.
Michael Porter: It’s also better for grasping objects because it provides more surface area for the tail to grasp.
Randy Atkins: Porter made 3-D models of the seahorse tail to learn about its abilities.
Michael Porter: Now we’re trying to insert actuators into the skeleton and actually make it move.
Randy Atkins: He thinks the structures might provide armor for flexible robots that can get a better grip on things…and that the work will reveal more about seahorses too.
Michael Porter: Learning from biology to make engineering designs and applications and then using those designs and applications to further learn more about biology.
Randy Atkins: With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.