Image credit: Daniel Goldman Study Reveals Small Lizard Tucks Legs and Swims Like a Snake Through Desert Sand (w/ Video) Citation: Why the sandfish lizard wriggles as it does (w/ Video) (2011, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-02-sandfish-lizard-video.html PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Image credit: Daniel Goldman © 2010 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — The sandfish lizard (Scincus scincus) lives in the desert sands of North Africa and burrows through the sand by wriggling. Now scientists in the US have created a computer model that emulates the physics of the lizard and other burrowing animals. Play Video credit: Daniel Goldman Goldman’s team then built a snake-like robot capable of moving in a similar way to the living lizard, and were able to control the extent of bending and wriggling as the robot moved. They filmed the robot moving through sand to determine how the amount of curling affected their movements.The team followed with computer simulations of the lizards swimming through a field of beads 3mm in diameter. Even with 3 mm beads rather than tiny grains of sand, the simulations needed the computing power of 20-30 ordinary PCs to run, and still took several days. They used the simulation to analyze the movement of every bead affected by the passing lizard. Both the living lizard and robot swam through the glass beads in the same way as they did through sand.The simulation and robotic tests both gave the same answer: if the lizards curl too little they cannot provide enough power to push through the sand, while if they curl too much they do not move very far forward as they wriggle. The movements of the living lizard are close to optimum. Dr Goldman also said the studies suggest that sandfish lizards dive into the sand and wriggle down into it to escape from predators as fast as possible. Burrowing into the sand also enables them to escape the scorching heat of the desert.As a result of their experiments Goldman’s team were able to derive a mathematical theory and highly predictive computer model capable of emulating the physics of sand and objects or animals moving through it. Dr Goldman said the model is the first really detailed, quantitative and accurate model of objects moving through an environment other than air or water.The research could find applications in a number of fields involving objects beneath the surface, such as earthquake monitoring and landmine detection. It could also lead to robots designed to wriggle into the sub-surface on other planets, and the team is already talking to NASA representatives about the possibilities. Explore further Professor Daniel Goldman of the Complex Rheology And Biomechanics Laboratory (CRAB Lab) at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said it is not easy to study the movements of burrowing animals because sand grains bounce off each other wildly rather than creating the kind of flowing movements found when animals move through water or air.Previous studies using X-rays revealed that the sandfish lizard moves through the sand by wriggling in S-shaped curves with their legs tucked in. Dr. Goldman said the wriggling movements of the lizard enable it to move at great speed, since it can cover two body lengths every second, but it was unclear at that time exactly how they achieve those speeds in sand. More information: Mechanical models of sandfish locomotion reveal principles of high performance subsurface sand-swimming, Ryan D. Maladen, Yang Ding, Paul B. Umbanhowar, Adam Kamor, and Daniel I. Goldman, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, in press (2011). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Register Now » July 22, 2014 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. New technology is changing the way students learn. And as the ed-tech market grows, startups and big technology companies alike are jumping in to provide solutions to meet schools’ changing needs. Just how big is the opportunity?Pegged at an estimated $8 billion in 2013 by the Software & Information Industry Association, the education-technology market is reaching unprecedented heights. According to EdSurge, the ed-ech industry received more than $327 million in venture-capital investment in the second quarter of this year alone.Yet amid the boom in private investment and technology talent migrating into education, entrepreneurs don’t always know how new apps and tools will align with schools’ day-to-day needs. Technology companies would have a better chance of developing products that school systems would actually pay to use, if they had better insight into the market and knew what schools were trying to accomplish as they integrate technology, the variety of tools that schools are currently using and where schools’ demands remain unmet.A new report “Schools and software: What’s now and what’s next” that I co-authored for my organization, the Clayton Christensen Institute, dives into the demand side of ed tech and offers entrepreneurs a glimpse of school systems’ unrealized needs.Here are three tips for entrepreneurs hoping to break into the market:Related: Why Everyone Wants a Piece of Ed Tech1. Small- to medium-size school systems are seeking entrepreneurial help. Although many ed-tech companies organize their sales teams to serve the largest districts, small- to medium-size school systems (serving 2,500 to 25,000 students) educate half of the 48 million public-school students in the United States. Because they have smaller budgets, these systems cannot always access the best-in-their-class solutions for academic and operations software, and some even rely on Excel spreadsheets for basic organizational and accounting tasks.But that leaves a huge untapped customer base in some areas. For example, smaller school systems are eager for integrated back-office software solutions that connect human resources, accounting and student information systems. This would enable school systems of this size to recruit, support and organize employees efficiently.Related: Mark Zuckerberg Puts His Money in Ed-Tech Startup2. Promise better integration with other tools and better data analytics. And schools will follow. Schools are responding enthusiastically to the proliferation of tools in the marketplace: Leaders reported using upwards of 30 different tools in any given school system. But using a variety of point solutions comes at a cost. In fact, schools struggle to integrate software tools within and across departments, and they report that it’s nearly impossible to extract actionable data from many online-learning programs.A few companies, like Clever and Education Elements, are working to address these integration woes. Still, schools need help making their existing software tools talk to one another and are willing to invest in new tools that can help integrate the student data coming out of disparate software programs.Related: Tips for Launching an Ed-Tech Startup3. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Despite its allure, ed tech risks encountering the same failure that has plagued reformers for years: There is no silver bullet for education. Even if companies peddle one-stop-shop solutions, the schools contacted by my organization are not using singular ed-tech products in a one-size-fits-all manner. Instead, educators are finding that one online-learning program may be great for homework but less suited for in-class assessment. Others may be excellent for drill practice but fall short in promoting deeper learning.These discrete use cases inside classrooms and schools are something that developers and designers need to keep in mind when working with schools. Educators would be delighted to know that a product can do one thing reliably well, rather than do everything with mixed or opaque results. These gaps in the current ed-tech market offer enticing entry points for entrepreneurs interested in the next wave of technology integration in schools.As Alex Hernandez, the co-author of the report and partner at the Charter School Growth Fund, put it, “Both entrepreneurs and schools are getting more sophisticated about the opportunities for software” in kindergarten-to-grade 12 education. “While some challenges are technical, others are about cooperation among vendors and schools. I’m optimistic we can make progress on both fronts.” Related: The Technology That Could Save Schools Thousands Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global