MantaDroid is an underwater Manta ray shaped robot. Developed by researchers Chew Chee Meng and Yeo Khoon Seng from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Mechanical Engineering, the robot is driven by flexible pectoral fins.
The robot can swim for at 0.7m per second for up to 10 hours and could be used for underwater mapping or reconnaissance. Manta rays are considered to be very graceful and efficient swimmers.
“Unlike other flapping-based underwater robots that replicate manta ray’s flapping kinematics by using multiple motors to achieve active actuations throughout the fins, MantaDroid is powered by only one electric motor on each fin. We then let the passive flexibility of the fins interact naturally with the fluid dynamics of the water to propel the subsequent motions,” explained Assoc Prof Chew.