Biomimetic robotics, rolls off the tongue nicely. What it means is observing nature's solution to a problem, distill it to the basic underlying physics, and apply to an engineering problem.
This brings us to Myrtle, a 500 pound sea turtle at the New England Aquarium who was studied for her maneuverability. Marine animals use their bodies comfortably near obstacles and dynamic flowing water, using this flow to escape predators near reefs. Dolphins use these dynamics to surf on the bow waves of huge ships.
Myrtle's flippers were filmed from various angles and the results applied to this autonomous underwater vehicle called Finnegan. Finnegan has four flippers, known to engineers as flapping foils that roll and twist through the water. It's designed to change direction quickly, make sharp turns and back flips to avoid underwater obstacles. Most AUV's have a single screw propulsion which is great for back and forth surveys in long rows but Finnegan's foils are ideal for using the robot in chaotic conditions such as the waters near reefs. Seals swimming at 2.4 metres per second need only one-tenth of their body length to turn completely around and while Finnegan can't turn anywhere near as fast it's much more able than conventional AUVs.