January 11, 2013

UNO Robotic Eel Project featured on Discovery Channel Canada Program

Daily Planet DiscoveryThe robotic eel project led by a faculty member in the University of New Orleans’ School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering was featured on the Discovery Channel Canada program Daily Planet. The project appeared in a Dec. 6 segment entitled “Robogeddon.” Daily Planet bills itself as the world’s only one-hour science news show.

Assistant professor Brandon Taravella and his team are using a 3-year $937,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research to design and build a new type of robotic eel that is capable of operating in shallow water environments where Navy personnel could be at risk. The researchers are trying to prove a theory that involves a swimming motion that has very low drag and high efficiency. The theory holds that if the eel swims with a defined shape, this type of propulsion will have no wake.

Taravella and his team are testing the first prototype of the eel in UNO’s 125-foot towing tank, located in the College of Engineering Building. The project also received a $280,000 grant in May 2012 from the Department of Defense to purchase a sophisticated machine that will allow researchers to visualize the eel’s wake. Various disciplines within the College of Engineering, including naval architecture and marine engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering are involved in the project.

To watch the segment on Daily Planet, click here >>
It starts at the 5:20 mark.