Small Robot Image
A 1.5-gram shrimp-scale robot was built that mimics the punch of a mantis shrimp. (Image: Harvard SEAS)

Modeling the mechanics of the strongest punch in the animal kingdom, researchers built a robot that mimics the movement of the mantis shrimp, whose club-like appendages accelerate faster than a bullet out of a gun. Just one strike can knock the arm off a crab or break through a snail shell.

Researchers at Harvard University  and Duke University  closely mimicked the geometry of a mantis shrimp's physiology, exceeding accelerations produced by limbs in other robotic devices by more than tenfold. The team first studied the linkage mechanics of the system, then built a physical robotic model.