Aug. 1 - Scientists in South Korea have developed a new robot that is modeled on the traits of crabs, to help gather data in underwater exploration.
It's called "Crabster"... a giant robotic crustacean developed to crawl along the ocean floor and explore in the name of Science.. The robot is the size of a small car - but because it is modeled on crabs and lobsters - it performs well in the shallow sea and fast-moving currents. Researcher Jun Bong-huan of South Korea's Institute of Ocean Science and Technology says its the perfect tool for conducting underwater research. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST OF KIOST JUN BONG-HUAN SAYING: "The Crabster was inspired by the crab in many respects, from its numerous legs to its ability to withstand strong currents. It is an underwater exploration robot that utilizes its multiple appendages to overcome strong ocean currents and uses sonar mapping to navigate in low-visibility conditions." The "Crabster" is operated remotely and is equipped with 10 optical cameras that supply video to its operators on the surface in real time. It has a total of six limbs... the two front legs have increased articulation and can be used as arms to pick up objects that are then stored inside of a frontal compartment, and brought to the surface. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST OF KIOST JUN BONG-HUAN SAYING: "It can also harvest small samples and assist in larger scale operations carried out by other vessels and human divers. For example, if a certain object needed to be raised from the ocean floor that is too large or heavy to be transported by the Crabster alone, it can carry and attach a towing cable connected to a surface vessel so that it may be collected." Soon, the team will put the Crabster to the test - they plan to lower the robot 200-metres to the sea floor, where it will operate for more than 24 hours at a time running on power supplied by an external cable. But that's not all that's in store for this crab - the scientists are already working on developing an internal power source to help this crab get to the bottom of things.