Dude, Robot Turtles Are Totally Taking Over

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They don't make pizzas or live in the sewers but a robotic turtle made by Swiss mechanical engineers is set to go exploring. With a shell that can hide high-tech gear and fast speed, this guy could kick some butt.

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Mechanical engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have been hard at work on a robotic sea turtle project called "Naro-Tartaruga" since 2008. Led by masters student Cedric P. Siegenthaler, the project has support from Disney Research Zurich and the Center of Structure Technologies. The latest prototype will finally be heading for its first open water dive later this month, according to IEEE Spectrum.

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The most recent robot prototype features a large waterproof torso that can pack in a bunch of sensors and batteries needed to keep it working. The robot is several feet long, primarily made of aluminum, and can move a meter per second, which translates into 6.6 feet. Each fin contains three actuators for 3-D movement and the robot has a diving depth of more than 300 feet, according to the specifications.

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Here at Discovery News we've covered a lot of robotic fish developments, including ones that can detect pollution and lead real fish away from danger. A robotic sea turtle could have several key advantages over fish including extra maneuverability, capability and speed. Not to mention all that space to stuff in high-tech gadgetry under the shell.

While the robot-turtle can be controlled remotely, it's primarily intended to push the limits of autonomous underwater navigation. All that's missing is a ninja eye mask.

Image: The "Naro-Tartaruga," a robotic turtle made by Swiss mechanical engineering students. Credit: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

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