Flipper as the Terminator?

Aug. 18, 2005
A fully submersible watercraft that mimics the look and abilities of the dolphin does something no other submersible vessel can — it "flies" underwater.

"Flipper" as the Terminator?

Bionic dolphin can swim with the fishes.

A fully submersible watercraft that mimics the look and abilities of the dolphin does something no other submersible vessel can — it "flies" underwater.

While a standard submersible takes on ballast to sink beneath the surface, the Dolphin uses its forward momentum and variable-pitch diving planes to "fly" beneath the surface. The distinction is like that between an airship (which uses lightweight gas to create lift) and an airplane (which uses forward momentum and its wings). Innespace Productions, the craft's builder, porpoisely designed the watercraft for aquatic demonstrations and has no plans to market it to the public.

The company claims no other submersible vessel operates without the use of ballast or attains such a level of maneuverability. The Dolphin can dive and jump completely out of the water. And in the event something goes wrong during a dive, the craft pops to the surface and self-rights.

Dives are limited to just a few feet below the surface because greater depths would submerge the snorkel which gives the engine its air supply. The craft uses air at 200 cfm (for comparison, a scuba tank holds only 70 cf.). The Dolphin can clip along at speeds up to 30 mph on the surface or 20 mph submerged.

The fuselage is made of fiberglass and Kevlar with a urethane foam core. A half-inch-thick F-16 fighter jet canopy keeps the pilot dry. Power is provided by a 110-hp Yamaha Waverunner engine, driven through a velvet drive transmission with a 2:1 gear reduction.

The latest model, which will be finished next year, has a larger (175-hp) motor that produces a surface speed of 40 mph.

Sponsored Recommendations

MOVI-C Unleashed: Your One-Stop Shop for Automation Tasks

April 17, 2024
Discover the versatility of SEW-EURODRIVE's MOVI-C modular automation system, designed to streamline motion control challenges across diverse applications.

The Power of Automation Made Easy

April 17, 2024
Automation Made Easy is more than a slogan; it signifies a shift towards smarter, more efficient operations where technology takes on the heavy lifting.

Lubricants: Unlocking Peak Performance in your Gearmotor

April 17, 2024
Understanding the role of lubricants, how to select them, and the importance of maintenance can significantly impact your gearmotor's performance and lifespan.

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!