Questions for “Mantis shrimp inspires somersaults of new soft robot”

The segmented body of a Nanosquilla mantis shrimp, shown here, served as the model for new robot. When it finds itself beached, N. decemspinosa curls up pillbug-like and then rolls or somersaults back into the water. The new segmented robot moves much the same way.

R. Caldwell

To accompany “Mantis shrimp inspires somersaults of new soft robot


Before Reading:

1.  Describe a somersault. In what environments would such a move be easy to do? Across which environments would it be difficult to carry out?

2.  What is a crustacean? Give two examples of these creatures.

During Reading:

1.  What is a mantis shrimp? On beach sand, what is the mode of action for the mantis shrimp known as Nannosquilla decemspinosa?

2.  How quickly can this creature move along a beach?

3.  Wen-Bo Li based a SomBot on Nannosquilla decemspinosa. In what ways did the robot resemble the mantis shrimp?

4.  How quickly can SomBot travel?

5.  According to Daniela Rus, for what tasks do engineers often choose soft robots?

6.  In what environments does SomBot work best? Where does it not work well at this time?

After Reading:

1.  Engineers often build traits or design features into their new products based, as here, on something that already exists in nature. Why do you think they do that?

2.  If you were given a SomBot, what tasks would you have it carry out?