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Swimming Upstream

Swimming Upstream

January 5, 2017

Researchers often look to the natural world for solutions to engineering challenges and other complex human problems, a technique known as biomimetics. WHOI guest investigator and 2005 MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate Erik Anderson and his collaborators have observed “sweet spots” in the propulsive force of flexible flapping plastic sheets that “swim” in a manner similar to many marine organisms. Anderson, a professor of mechanical engineering at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and his student Abby Noll used the high-speed flume in WHOI’s Shore Lab to collect 3D video of striped bass to examine whether fish benefit from the same effect. The work aims to advance the fields of fish evolution and biomimetic propulsion.(Photo by Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)