Killer Whale-Inspired Submarine Is Just for Fun, and That's a Good Thing
Scientists have already developed technology to generate wind power by copying whale fins. This latest whale-inspired creation won't do much to advance science or human knowledge, but it could be a whole lot of fun. Hammacher Schlemmer's Killer Whale Submarine looks just like an Orca, with a max speed of 50 mph and the ability to spyhop and porpoise, much like a real whale.
The submarine can't actually go very far underwater; a built-in snorkel supplies air to the engine as deep as five feet. Otherwise, it's a pretty good imitation. The pilot uses levers to control pectoral fins and steers with foot pedals.
So while this toy may not teach anything much about whales, it's a great example of how we can learn from nature, and shows that scientific and technological advances don't need to be serious; they can be a bit silly, too.
By the way, a Killer Whale Submarine of your own will cost you $100,000. Which hints at the glaring downside of Hammacher Schlemmer's toy: who really needs a two man submarine, especially one that uses 1,450 pounds of metal, plastic and vinyl (for the seats)? Not to mention the fuel to fill the 14 gallon tank. So biomimicry: good. Wretched excess: bad.