Scientists create cyborg jellyfish that can swim THREE TIMES faster

Scientists create cyborg jellyfish with a device that helps them swim THREE TIMES faster by sending electric jolts through their body

  • Prosthetic sends electric jolts through jellyfish to help it swim three times faster
  • The device is coated in a waterproof plastic film and housed with cork weights
  • The technology includes a mini-processor, lithium battery and two electrodes 
  • Experts envision adding sensors to the technology for underwater exploration 

Scientists have given jellyfish super powers.

The team designed a microelectronic prosthetic that helps the creatures swim three times faster that their unmodified counterparts, while using less metabolic energy.

The device is about two centimeters in diameter and is attached to the body with a small wooden barb.

The researchers involved with the project plan to equip the jellyfish with sensors, so they can explore and gather information about the ocean.

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The team designed a microelectronic prosthetic that helps the creature swim three times faster, while using less metabolic energy of its unmodified counterparts. The device is about two centimeters in diameter and is attached to the body with a small wooden barb

Dabiri, Xu, lead of the study, said: ‘Only five to 10 percent of the volume of the ocean has been explored, so we want to take advantage of the fact that jellyfish are everywhere already to make a leap from ship-based measurements, which are limited in number due to their high cost.’

‘If we can find a way to direct these jellyfish and also equip them with sensors to track things like ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen levels, and so on, we could create a truly global ocean network where each of the jellyfish robots costs a few dollars to instrument and feeds themselves energy from prey already in the ocean.’

The prosthetic is coated in a waterproof plastic film and housed with cork weights to keep it neutrally buoyant.

The technology consists of a mini-processor, lithium polymer battery and two electrodes with LEDs to visually indicate stimulation.

The prosthetic is coated in a waterproof plastic film and housed with cork weights to keep it neutrally buoyant. The technology consists of a mini-processor, lithium polymer battery and two electrodes with LEDs to visually indicate stimulation

Jellyfish use a pulsing motion two swim, which moves them about two centimeters per second.

The team is using an electric pulse to thrust the creatures faster through the water, which they compare to a ‘cardiac pacemaker’.

The animals’ pulsing sped up, producing a corresponding increase in their swimming speed to around 4–6 centimeters per second.

The jolts were also found to help the swim more efficiently, as they used just twice as much energy to do so (as measured by the amount of oxygen consumed by the animals while swimming).

‘In fact, the prosthetic-equipped jellyfish were over 1,000 times more efficient than swimming robot,’ Xu explained.

‘We’ve shown that they’re capable of moving much faster than they normally do, without an undue cost on their metabolism,’ Xu says.

Jellyfish use a pulsing motion two swim, which moves them about two centimeters per second. The team is using an electric pulse to thrust the creatures faster through the water, which they compare to a ‘cardiac pacemaker’

The team also notes that the jellyfish are not harmed by the pulses. These creatures do secrete a mucus when stressed, but ‘no such secretion was observed in this experiment’

‘This reveals that jellyfish possess an untapped ability for faster, more efficient swimming. They just don’t usually have a reason to do so.’

The team also notes that the jellyfish are not harmed by the pulses.

These creatures do secrete a mucus when stressed, but ‘no such secretion was observed in this experiment’.

And the jellyfish went back to swimming normally once the prosthetic was removed.

 

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