Imagine a bionic jellyfish that can swim three times faster than a normal jelly fish and can explore the deep ocean and send back recorded data to be studied and analyzed. Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, right? WRONG!
Scientists at CALTECH and Stanford University have developed a micro-electronic (teeny-tiny) device that sends electric pulses into the tentacles of a jellyfish making it swim almost three times faster.
These bionic ‘super’ jellyfish are not only able to swim faster with the help of the electric pulses, but they also use less energy to swim, making them more efficient swimmers. So, imagine, if a bionic jellyfish and a normal jellyfish had a race, the bionic jellyfish would win, but it would also not be tired or breathless at the finish line!
Why Jellyfish? Jellyfish are super strong creatures and they can travel really far and really really deep in the ocean. They are one of the only creatures that can live in water pretty much anywhere in the world from the freezing North and South Poles to the warmer water near the equator and they can also survive close to the surface as well as miles underwater.
This makes them particularly useful to scientists. Even though the research is a long way off, scientists hope that by using this device, they can control the movements of the jellyfish and can use them to study parts of the ocean that human beings and other research machines cannot reach.
Right now the electronic device can tell the jellyfish to start moving and control its speed. The next step in the research is to try and control the direction in which the jellyfish moves and even to respond in a specific way to specific signals from the sensors.
If this is successful, the jellyfish can be used to find monitor signs of climate change or observe natural phenomena deep within the ocean.