24 August 2012

Jellyfish and Sandcastles

Festo's AquaJelly [click to see cool video] is an artificial, autonomous jellyfish that emulates swarming behavior with an intelligent, adaptive mechanism. It is a project in the company's Bionic Learning Network, which includes universities, institutes, and development companies that cooperate with Festo in research to adapt principles in nature to industrial applications. At the heart of the AquaJelly's structure is a central unit, a watertight laser-sintered body containing an electric motor, two lithium-ion polymer batteries, the recharging control unit, and the servomotors for the swash plate. This is surmounted by a translucent hemispherical dome that houses a control board and sensors, to which are attached eight tentacles for propulsion.

A large number of robots have been designed to operate in or near water, whether fresh water or the salty seas. Military, homeland security, and naval operations are some of the more obvious application areas. For example, Bluefin Robotics' autonomous underwater vehicles and the Hawkes Remotes remotely-operated vehicles are designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and detecting unexploded ordnance. Like many of their unmanned ground vehicle counterparts, they can go where humans can't.

These, and other mostly autonomous robots are also aimed at scientific exploration and data gathering, as well as maintenance of ships, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunications cables, or alternative offshore energy installations. Some target water or environmental health monitoring.
- courtesy of Design News Magazine

 For those who can tear themselves away from their computers, Milford's Annual Great American Sand Sculpture Competition will take place Saturday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Walnut Beach.

Cash awards, trophies and ribbons will be awarded in various categories, including clubs/friends, families and individuals. All ages are welcome. Registration is free and open to all.
The Milford Fine Arts Council and Milford Bank sponsor the event. Parking for nonresidents is $5. Registration will be at 11 a.m., sand building from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and judging at 2:30 p.m.

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