Pliant Energy Systems in Brooklyn, New York has created the Velox, a legless, amphibious, serpentine robot that propulses itself upon wavy, flexible, ray-like fins that can skate upon the ice, swim in water and walk upon sand and snow with the greatest of ease.
Velox can use several modes of locomotion found in the animal kingdom using just one pair of “fins”. These fins are best described as four-dimensional objects with a hyperbolic geometry that allows the robot to swim like a ray, crawl like a millipede, jet like a squid, and slide like a snake.
The company sees Velox as being a strategic partner for various tasks including work around delicate undersea areas such as coral.
A craft equipped with this system has unprecedented freedom to travel through a range of environments in a single mission. As an underwater vehicle, the robot’s ability to instantly reverse direction and do quick turns make it ideal for task such as coral reef inspection or dragon fish hunting where a craft must rapidly maneuver to look around and between objects.