Machine Design

Scanning for Ideas: A sub that swims like a squid

Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder designed an underwater vortex generator

Inspired by the way squids and jelly fish use vortices to move around, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder (colorado.edu), designed an underwater vortex generator that could make it easier to dock underwater vehicles at low speeds and with more precision. The technology might also find a use guiding jet-propelled capsules through the human digestive tract to diagnose and treat disease.

The sub, dubbed Calamare-E, would bridge the gap between high-speed torpedo- shaped subs with poor maneuverability at low speed and boxy subs that move around nimbly but have a limited top speed. It will use synthetic jet actuators that eject a slug of water, creating near-perfect ring vortices and generating thrust, then quickly taking in another slug of water.

University of Colorado at Boulder underwater vortex generator

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