The best way to understand one of nature’s deadliest killers is apparently to build a robot version of one; scientists have built a robot dubbed ‘Ninjabot’ that mimics the mantis shrimp’s amazing attack mechanism.
The aim of the project is to better understand exactly how this attack mechanism works.
Despite its unassuming appearance, the mantis shrimp is one of nature’s most impressive predators. Its folded arms store energy like a spring, and strike at a speed of 30 meters a second. Clubs at the end of those arms smash prey at a speed only slightly lower than that of a bullet.
The Ninjabot can't achieve acceleration or force anywhere near to that of the actual mantis shrimp, but that was never the goal -- the Ninjabot is helping researchers uncover design principles and insights that "could be useful to anyone interested in generating super-high accelerations without explosives: store the energy in a big spring and use it to power something tiny."
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