SILVER, the robot to explore sea bottoms
It is called SILVER and is the underwater robot that will monitor sea bottoms by walking and crawling on many types of surface, in line with the principles of Soft-Robotics. The robot has been developed by the Institute of Robotics of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna within a project funded by the National Geographic Society.
SILVER, or Seabed-Interaction Legged Vehicle for Exploration and Research, looks like a dog, but its mechanics is similar to that of crabs, with small agile and fluctuating legs which can adapt to the rough ground, in line with the main purpose of combing the bottom of the sea.
“SILVER”, said Marcello Calisti, scientific head of the project, “is a new tool that facilitates all operations that need interaction with the underwater environment near the bottom of the sea. This is possible thanks to an agile structure, equipped with legs instead of traditional propellers, to ensure a more effective locomotion on uneven or delicate grounds”.
As compared to other vehicles having the same purpose but which do not touch the ground, SILVER can move on uneven grounds hopping around without damaging the terrain and bypassing any obstacles.
The underwater robot was developed at the research centre on sea technology and sea robotics in Livorno by the research team coordinated by Marcello Calisti and Cecilia Laschi and has already explored the sea bottom off Isola d'Elba.
“We have applied for an additional grant from the National Geographic Society”, concluded Calisti, “so that this project can be not only an example of university research capabilities, but can actually have an impact and benefit the society”.