This giant crab robot is straight out of your nightmares

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:04am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Picture the most horrifying crustaceans on planet Earth (or Science Fiction), toss in some H.G. Lovecraft, and you’ve got the Crabster CR200 autonomous underwater vehicle — the creepiest robot since that female droid from Metropolis (but without the sex appeal and with a healthy dose of *%^& your pants).

Her creators at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) designed the Crabster as an alternative to propeller-driven remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), both of which have trouble with strong tidal currents. Scuttling along the ocean floor — at depths down to 200 meters — this robotic hexapod can withstand currents up to 1.5 m/s and water pressure topping 25 bar (about 362 psi), making it an ideal vessel to explore shipwrecks, conduct marine research, search and rescue operations, and other deep-sea missions that would kill humans.

Personally, if I saw a giant crab crawling — or swimming — toward me, I’d probably beat feet out of that zip code ASAP, but the Crabster will be a huge boon for scientific research. Never mind the creep factor.

See: Photos of the Day: The Crabster CR200 autonomous underwater vehicle

The 600 kg robot — with dimensions of 2.42 m long, 2.45 m wide, and 2 m high (7.9 ft x 8 ft x 6.5 ft) — sports 30 joints, can be shipped in a pair of shipping containers, and the behemoth requires four people to operate. New skivvies sold separately.

The Crabster includes a high-resolution scanning sonar, acoustic camera, acoustic doppler current profiler (ADCP), and other cameras and sensors, and its front legs can grasp objects (just like you’d expect from a gigantic, nightmarish crab).

But the kicker is seeing this creepifying robotic crustacean scuttle around (very slowly, I’m happy to report). Watch and prepare to be traumatized.


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