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Several times this week, we’ve seen researchers argue that animals are practically superior to robots: and built their robots accordingly.

Professor Phill-Seung Lee of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s Computational Mechanics and Structural Systems lab decided to work with a turtle. He wanted to be able to take advantage of the turtle’s natural versatility: it can both swim and walk, and could be used to study other animals in their natural habitats. The result is essentially a robotic carrot on a stick. The animal has already been trained to take food from a dispenser, so the electronics just guide the turtle toward the food, using LED lights as a cue and food as a reward.

Mark this down as today’s weird science. The research team wants to turn the turtle’s environment even more to their advantage with a “virtual reality” component that will keep the turtle focused, and electronics that can harvest kinetic energy from the animal.

Image credit: KAIST
Real-Time Digital Reporter
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