Episode 23: Inspired by Animals

Rossin Connection Podcast


Rossin Connection Podcast: Keith Moored manta raysDiving with manta rays isn’t the typical research experience of an engineering graduate student. But Keith Moored was one of the lucky ones (see photo at right). He got the opportunity to go to Micronesia as part of his PhD research into bio-inspired robotics.

“To see these manta rays up close, it really was just a dream,” he says.

As an associate professor in mechanical engineering and mechanics, Moored and his team now study the fluid mechanics of fish swimming. “We try to understand what features of fish swimming relate to high efficiency, high speed locomotion, and what that’s doing in terms of the fluid mechanics, in terms of how water flows around these fins.”

In this episode, Moored talks about the potential implications of that research, and how it can be applied not only to the design of “schools” of bio-inspired robots that are fast, agile, and stealthy, but to more environmentally friendly ways of renewable energy generation, and deeper insight into the precariousness of the planet’s fish populations.