Bridgestone helps create ‘rubber tail’ for dolphin
Japanese group uses guayule rubber, recycled carbon black for tail-fin construction
Okinawa, Japan – Bridgestone Corp. in collaboration with Okinawa Churashima Foundation has developed a rubber tail for a dolphin with a severely damage tail fin.
Sami, a 24-year-old female Minami bottlenose dolphin, injured her tail in 2021 which led to the necrosis of caudal fin and eventually required it partial excision, said the Japanese group.
After the excision and despite rehabilitation programmes, Sami had difficulty swimming, which could further cause it issues in relation to other dolphins.
Bridgestone, therefore, took part in the “Sami artificial tail fin development project” to develop an artificial tail for the dolphin, and delivered the product in December last year.
The tail, said Bridgestone in a 25 Jan statement, includes a "socket cushion material" that protects the tail and a "rubber tail fin" that provides propulsion when swimming.
The structure also includes a "plate" that conveys the movement of Sami to the rubber fin, and features springs.
The artificial caudal fin, according to Bridgestone, has a structural design to protect the damaged part and has a low weight to reduce “the burden on Sami."
The fin, which took a year to develop, features natural rubber derived from guayule as well as recycled carbon black, Bridgestone added.
Following continuous rehabilitation programmes, Sami’s swimming skills have “greatly improved” and her interactions with other dolphins have resumed, the statement added.