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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Silent Nemo - unmanned robo-fin of US Navy ....

NEMO (Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean) is a state-of-the-art modelling framework for oceanographic research, operational oceanography seasonal forecast and climate studies. In Europe NEMO (The Network of European Museum Organisations) was founded in 1992 as an independent network of national museum organisations representing the museum community of the member states of the Council of Europe. Together, NEMO’s members speak for over 30.000 museums across Europe.  The more popular Nemo is a fish – the  common clownfish which grows up to 11 cm (4.3 inches). Its body has a stocky appearance and oval shape. It was made popular by the computer animated film.

‘Finding Nemo’ released in 2003, written and directed by Andrew Stanton, released by Walt Disney Pictures was a film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It tells the story of the overprotective clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) who, along with a regal tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), searches for his abducted son Nemo (Alexander Gould) all the way to Sydney Harbour. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and let Nemo take care of himself. The film received widespread critical acclaim, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and was nominated in three more categories including Best Original Screenplay.

Two ocellaris clownfish, Marlin and his wife Coral, admire their new home in the Great Barrier Reef and their clutch of eggs when a barracuda attacks, knocking Marlin unconscious. He wakes up to find Coral and all but one of the eggs have disappeared. Marlin names this last egg Nemo, a name that Coral liked. Nemo develops a smaller right fin as a result of damage to his egg during the attack, which limits his ability as a swimmer. After Marlin embarrasses Nemo during a school field trip, he sneaks away from the reef and is captured by scuba divers. As the boat departs, a diver accidentally knocks his diving mask overboard. While attempting to save Nemo, Marlin meets Dory, a good-hearted and optimistic regal blue tang with short-term memory loss. Marlin and Dory meet three sharks ……..  after many escapades, Nemo is captured by a dentist who places him in a fish tank in his office on Sydney Harbour.  In one such, Nemo is engulfed by a whale.  After returning home, Nemo leaves for school and Marlin, no longer overprotective, proudly watches Nemo swim away with Dory at his side.

~ this post is not about ‘Finding Nemo’ – but about the latest recruit (!) of US Navy.  The silent Nemo' robofish that can swim into enemy territory undetected - and is designed to look exactly like a tuna.  Mailonline reports that the US Navy has revealed its latest recruit - a giant robotic spy disguised as a tuna.  The robo-fish is designed to swim into enemy territory, and to guard the hulls of US boats. It uses a robo-fin to move silently through the water - and had been dubbed 'Silent Nemo' by Navy bosses.

The unmanned underwater vehicle is able to make tight turns and move through the water quietly, making it ideal for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.  At a length of approximately 5 feet and a weight of nearly 100 pounds, the GhostSwimmer vehicle can operate in water depths ranging from 10 inches to 300 feet.  It is modelled after a bluefin tuna and uses a rear caudle fin to move through the water just like the fish.  The robot is capable of operating autonomously for extended periods of time due to its long-lasting battery, but it can also be controlled via laptop with a 500-foot tether.

Researchers from the Chief of Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell and Boston Engineering tested the prototype at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia  recently.  The Navy hopes it could be used to inspect the hull of a ship, check waters for threats such as mines or protrusions, deliver payloads including sonar and guidance packages, and access otherwise denied areas.  The GhostSwimmer was developed to resemble the shape and mimic the swimming style of a large fish.

'The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities. Its bio-mimicry provides additional security during low visibility intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and friendly hull inspections, while quieter than propeller driven craft of the same size, according to Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC).  This fish has perfected itself by swimming around the water for millenia, so what we are trying to do with this project, the idea of biomimicry, is to reverse engineer what nature has already done to optimize design, says its makers   ~ a very imaginative innovation of technology indeed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Dec 2o14.

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