Researchers from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a biohybrid robotic jellyfish for gathering deep-sea data.

Enabling the biohybrid jellyfish to record information about ocean temperatures, salinity and oxygen levels — all of which are impacted by the Earth's climate — is that the jellyfish are outfitted with electronics.

Source: Rebecca Konte/CaltechSource: Rebecca Konte/Caltech

An earlier iteration of the biohybrid jellyfish robot was originally equipped with an electronic pacemaker that enabled the device to swim faster than un-enhanced jellyfish. Further, the team has now added a forebody to the jellyfish located on its bell, which is its mushroom-shaped bodily part. There, the researchers created a space for where sensors and other electronics can be stored.

"Much like the pointed end of an arrow, we designed 3D-printed forebodies to streamline the bell of the jellyfish robot, reduce drag, and increase swimming performance," the researchers explained. "At the same time, we experimented with 3D printing until we were able to carefully balance the buoyancy and keep the jellyfish swimming vertically."

During trials, the researchers discovered that the biohybrid jellyfish carrying a payload swam up to 4.5 times faster than a natural jellyfish.

An article detailing the biohybrid jellyfish, “Electromechanical enhancement of live jellyfish for ocean exploration,” appears in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.

For more information on the biohybrid jellyfish, watch the accompanying video, which appears courtesy of Caltech.

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