Scientists studying the deep sea have built an underwater robot that can gently scoop up delicate fish, squid, and even jellyfish, with a folding container inspired by the Japanese art of origami.
The scientists wanted to simplify their design and reduce the number of moving parts. With the origami design, only one motor is needed to fold five identical 3D-printed “petals” that are attached to flexible joints into a 12-sided box.
The team used the new box to capture and release moon jellyfish in an aquarium and squid and Stellamedusa jellyfish in the open ocean at depths of 500 to 700 meters.
In the ocean, scientists mounted the joystick-controlled arm to a remotely operated vehicle. The joystick operator used a video feed to make sure the animal didn’t get squished during the folding. TThat’s his s for deep-sea creatures that are too delicate or too gelatinous to be caught with traditional techniques such as nets and suction samplers, the researchers report today in Science Robotics.