How cyborg jellyfish could someday patrol our oceans
In project that sounds like science fiction, researchers from Stanford and Caltech have developed a way to control the swimming speed of live jellyfish using removable micro electronics, but why?
The goal of creating bionic jellyfish is to eventually send the bio hybrid robots out to the ocean and keep track of markers of climate change.
Whether it's changing temperatures or pH or if you want to be the one to wire up these robots in order to monitor what's going on in the ocean.
An army of Cyborg jellyfish to monitor the health of our oceans sounds very what the future but before we get into how this all works, I gotta know, does this hurt the jellyfish?
Jellyfish do not feel pain.
They don't have any no pain receptors, they don't have a brain.
They have a series of a distributed nerve net, so we're not causing any harm to the animal.
So device is a series of readily available micro electronics so you can purchase Are just some off the shelf.
There is a microcontroller so it's kind of like the brain of the robot and a battery that powers it and two electrodes that embed into the jellyfish muscle.
So in that way, it's kind of like a like a cardiac pacemaker controlling the frequency in which the the animal when When the devices removed the animals act as they normally would, they're making still reproduce, they could still feed they seem totally fine and they don't have find the stress which is extremely more media.
So far, the robotically controlled jellyfish can swim up to three times faster than their natural rhythm using just twice the amount of energy Jellyfish are incredibly energy efficient creatures.
So if you want to take advantage of nature, then why not create a robot that integrates both an energy efficient animal as well as the microelectronic system?
And the nice thing about this species of jellyfish is that they're pretty ubiquitous.
So you can find them in a range of depths, temperatures, salinities.
And so if you want to send these out into the ocean, then you wanna find the most readily available species out there.
Controlling the swim speed of jellyfish presents a lot of interesting questions and opportunities.
But there's still a lot more work to be done before these bio hybrid robots start patrolling our oceans.
The next immediate step is improving the maneuverability of the, The robot.
So at the moment, all of our experiments are done on straight swimming jellyfish, whereas we want to incorporate turning and more types of maneuverability.
So it would be ideal if we could create some sort of obstacle course for example in the lab and have the animal swimming through that.
We'd also like to incorporate different sensors, such as temperature and pH.
And the idea is, by incorporating all of these different components, we can then move to the next stage of testing this out in the ocean.
Seeing, what markers can we actually track over time?
Our ocean ecosystems have proven time and again that they are the canary in the coal mine of climate change.
Change mask coral bleaching events reflect the dangers of rising ocean temperatures and our oceans also become more acidic as the water absorbs excess co2 in the atmosphere.
The acidification has already gotten so bad it's literally dissolving the shells of young crabs off the western coast of the United States.
It's important that we stay vigilant and connected with our oceans so we can evaluate how bad things are, and start taking the necessary steps to stop it from getting worse.
We definitely don't wanna polute the ocean more and add more plastic or electronics in the ocean.
We have thought a lot about retrieving Electronics later.
And so if we have a swim bladder, for example, or some balloon that eventually carries this controller up to the surface, because then use GPS and locate all of the materials from the sun controllers.
Thanks for watching what the fam See you next time.
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