Markforged Saves the Whales

Posted by Editor On April - 26 - 2016

Markforged Saves the Whales

How the SnotBot brings replacement parts to the farthest ends of the ocean

Designing to Win
The Snotbot hurtled down toward the Ocean Alliance research boat, its operator hoping that he could get it back in as few pieces as possible. With the boat moving, the wind blowing, and the drone running low on batteries from carrying so much weight, all landings need to be quick. It’s pilot would be satisfied with any touchdown that at least saved the electronics housing , but that was not a guarantee. Ocean Alliance, a research organization that has studied whale behavior for nearly 50 years, has partnered with Olin College of Engineering, a unique engineering school in Needham, MA, to develop a novel method for collecting biological information from whales. Their solution, the Snotbot, flies over surfaced whales and collects the liquid expelled from their spout. The robot is much less invasive than the traditional tissue collection method, which involves shooting a biopsy arrow at the whale. While using the Snotbot is a much more effective method, landing the drone on a moving boat with rough wind conditions nearly always results in a crash. One of the problems the drone’s designers have to solve is that no landing gear thus far has handled impact reliably.

For more on this story, read: https://markforged.com/snotbot/