As a person who’s spent a fair bit of time in the sea, I’ve had a number of sea turtle encounters. Obviously, my colleagues at Georgia Tech have as well. Their turtle-inspired Flipperbot helps them learn more the locomotion of turtle, seals, and mudskippers over complex granular surfaces, such as sand.

In an article in The Engineer, Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Daniel Goldman and his co-author, Dr. Paul Umbanhowar of Northwestern University describe how the 19 cm robot (about 7.5 inches), built by Nicole Mazouchova, models the physics of flipper-driven locomotion.  (All this, without having to provide a bucket of fish treats!)