Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Snails Provide The Inspiration For Robots To Combat Microplastics


Researchers have developed a tiny robot prototype that could one day be the answer to combating microplastics.

The tiny robot was inspired by and is based on the Hawaiian apple snail (Pomacea canaliculate).

The snail uses an undulating motion to drive water flow and suck up food particles, and the same technique can be used to suck up microplastics from the oceans.

This is a significant departure from current methods of microplastic capture, which rely on nets and conveyor belts to do the job. Unfortunately, the present techniques are great at removing large debris but can’t cope with the fine granular particles, which is where the snail-inspired robot steps in.

Commenting on the prototype, Sunghwan  “Sunny” Jung, the senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, stated:

“We were inspired by how this snail collects food particles at the [water and air] interface to engineer a device that could possibly collect microplastics in the ocean or at a water body’s surface.”

You can find the original research here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.com
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for DeeperBlue.com