The Atlantic razor clam, left, can burrow into sand 10 times more efficiently than man-made diggers. Researchers at MIT and the University of Maryland figured out why: It contracts its body to create a vacuum that causes sand to behave like a fluid rather than a solid. They copied that strategy when they built RoboClam, right, which may have a future in ocean surveys or surveillance.
Donna Coveney, Amos Winter / MIT
Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times