Science or fiction? Bionic jellyfish setting out to conquer the seabed

And what if tomorrow we got to know the condition of the oceans better thanks to cyborg jellyfish?

Méduse aurélie Aurelia aurita

Knowing the condition of the oceans better thanks to augmented jellyfish, that’s the idea developed by John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and mechanical engineering at Caltech, California Institute of Technology.

From robots to climate-sentinel jellyfish

Inspired by nature and these invertebrates’ swimming movement, the researchers first of all created a robot that reproduces the propulsion of jellyfish, but without equalling the efficiency of their natural movements. The engineers then said to themselves: why not use actual jellyfish?

Because as John Dabiri explains, "Jellyfish are the original ocean explorers, reaching its deepest corners and thriving just as well in tropical or polar waters".

Indeed, they can be found in all of the world’s seas and at every depth. Jellyfish therefore have the ideal profile for exploring the oceans and gathering data on the temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels of the oceans, all of which are essential for understanding climate change, of which the oceans are a natural regulator.

From jellyfish to bio-hybrid robotic jellyfish

To transform these jellyfish into spies of the seabed, the researchers fitted them with electronic devices that improve their movements, along with a “hat” placed on their bell that is equipped with sensors designed to collect data.

The tests carried out in tanks have demonstrated that, equipped in this way, the cyborg jellyfish travel 4.5 times faster than natural jellyfish. Their swimming performance is better, as is their buoyancy and they are maintained better in the upright position.

The researchers must ensure that this equipment can withstand extreme pressure levels so that the jellyfish, cyborgs of the future, can explore the oceans down to depths that humans would have difficulty reaching.

Other articles

méduse dorée à nausicaa

10 things you need to know about jellyfi...

Biodiversity 6mn

Found in all the world's seas, the jellyfish intrigues and f...

Méduse aurélie Aurelia aurita

Which jellyfish can be found along our c...

Biodiversity 2mn

From the North Sea to the Mediterranean, the jellyfish can l...

Méduse aurélie Aurelia aurita

How do jellyfish reproduce?

Biodiversity 1mn

The jellyfish, an ancient marine animal, has a particular wa...

méduse boussole du Pacifique

Why do jellyfish sting?

Biodiversity 1mn

A jellyfish is stinging, but what triggers the sting?

méduse immortelle Turritopsis dohrnii

Are some jellyfish immortal?

Biodiversity 1mn

Some jellyfish, such as Turritopsis dohrnii, have the abilit...

Méduse aurélie Aurelia aurita

What should you do if you are stung by j...

Biodiversity 2mn

Here's what to do if you've been stung by a jellyfish, so th...