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Atlantic razor clam inspires robot to dig deeper

Atlantic razor clam

The Atlantic razor, or American jack knife, clam quickly burrows into soil by changing solid soil into a fluid. The process has inspired researchers to make a robot that digs the same way.

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The Atlantic razor clam, Ensis directus, digs 35 times deeper into the soil than it should by opening and closing its shells and turning the soil around it into fluid.

Mimicking the motion with machinery, researchers have created a robot that turns soil into fluid and burrows as efficiently as the live animal, researchers report April 8 in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. The robotic digger could be used to anchor underwater robots or defuse mines, the scientists say.

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