Researchers create bionic Jellyfish that swim faster

ISLAMABAD             –       Engineers at Caltech and Stanford University have developed a tiny prosthetic that enables jellyfish to swim faster and more efficiently than they normally do, without stressing the animals. The researchers behind the project envision a future in which jellyfish equipped with sensors could be directed to explore and record information about the ocean. Jellyfish use a pulsing motion to propel themselves forward, swishing their tentacles as they move to capture prey. The new prosthetic uses electrical impulses to regulate—and speed up—that pulsing, similar to the way a cardiac pacemaker regulates heart rate. The device, which is neutrally buoyant in water, is about two centimeters in diameter and is attached to the body of the jellyfish via a small wooden barb. The research—led by Caltech’s John Dabiri (MS ’03, PhD ’05), Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and Stanford graduate student Nicole Xu (MS ’15). Typically, jellyfish swim at a rate of about two centimeters per second. Although they are capable of moving more quickly, doing so does not aid them in ensnaring prey, their typical reason for using the tentacle-waving “swimming” motion.


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