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Scientists implant microelectronics into jellyfish to explore the oceans better

It is a noted fact, that only 5% of the ocean has been discovered, leaving a significant 95% unexplored. The quest to explore deeper parts of the ocean, has led scientists to create bionic jellyfish (jellyfish with electronic implants). Interestingly, after implanting the electrical aids, the animals swam at nearly three times the speed of normal jellyfish, while exerting only twice as much energy. The artificial implants did not have any apparent harm to these animals since they have no brain, central nervous system or pain receptors.

Previously, Scientists have built soft, flexible robots that mimic the marine animals’ swimming motions. However, the robots demand much more energy than real animals do and have to be tethered by a power cord for power supplies and for them to be easily monitored. These bionic jellyfish have proven to be up to 1,000 times more energy efficient and don’t need to be tethered to external power supplies since they move and feed themselves.

One professor – John Dabiri of the California Institute of Technology, stated that currently there are remotely operated vehicles that explore the dark, cold and deepest parts of the ocean. But they typically have only enough power to last for 12 to 24 hours of traveling. “There is a lot of life in deeper waters that we simply aren’t able to observe,” Dabiri says. Jellyfish are known to be found in waters that differ in temperature, salinity, acidity, or oxygen levels, including depths of over 3,700m. Hence the purpose of these enhanced jellyfish is to help collect valuable information about the greater depths of the ocean, its climate and even gather data about the microbes that inhabit different parts of the ocean.

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