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Heather Beem holds seal whisker model

Seal Whisker Sensor

Heather Beem earned her Ph.D. in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography working biomimetics: using features observed in nature to inform the design of new technologies. She closely examined seal whiskers for insights on how the shape of the whiskers helped seals detect movements in water, which lead them toward prey. She built a large-scale model of a seal whisker and tested it in test tanks to examine how it responded to water flowing around it. Based on her experiments, she designed a prototype flow sensor to detect water movements, incorporating the distinctive geometric shape of seal whiskers. (Photo by Tony Pulsone)


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