Chinese Scientists Developed a Soft Automated Robot that Reaches a Depth of 11000 Meters in the Ocean
In recent experiments, the robot has been tested by swimming in the ocean’s deepest part, the Mariana Trench. It is located at a depth of 10,900 meters (approximately 11,000 meters). It was successfully swept to a depth of 3,224 meters in the South China Sea in initial experiments.
Explained, as we descend into the depths of the ocean, the water pressure also increases. Even at the Mariana Trench, depth is 1,071 times higher than the standard air pressure at ground level. This pressure is so high that no living things on earth can survive.
Nevertheless, in a few research so far, many living things have been discovered in the ocean. Those are very different from animals and plants found on the surface of the earth. It should be remarked that expensive and special machines (especially submarines and robots) are needed to reach the sea’s deep and dark depths. Because those places are parts of the earth, and we know very little about it today.
However, jellyfish and other animals found in these depths of the ocean do not have such an arrangement, but these soft-bodied animals not only survive this intense pressure but also float around.
Taifeng Li and his colleagues at Xijiang University in Hangzhou have invented a soft robot inspired by the “snailfish” found in the deep sea.
This “soft robot” is also because all of its electronic devices, related to motion and guidance systems, are enclosed in a soft silicone shell that exerts tremendous pressure even at extraordinary depths, such as the Mariana Trench. Not only that, but this “soft robot” flutters its wings like a snail and flies freely, and can go very far from its main submarine.
As shown above, the soft robot’s design (left) was inspired by the deep-sea snailfish (illustrated right), which can live in great pressure environments in the deep ocean.
The researchers tested the robot in different environments: 70 meters underwater in a lake, about 3,200 meters below in the South China Sea, and lastly, at the very bottom of the ocean. However, the robot was allowed to swim freely in the first two tests. For the deep trial challenge, though, the team kept a tight grip, using the extendable arm of a deep-sea lander to hold the robot firmly while it fluttered its fins.
The important thing is that this robot has the whole system of energy (electricity) inside it to swim deep in the ocean. Before that, all the robots designed to go deep into the ocean were connected to their main submarine with thick and long cables. And they also got energy from it.
In this way, it is more capable of conducting deep-sea exploration than ever before. Its inventors say it is the first model or “prototype” of “soft robots” that will be further improved in the future using even softer and lighter materials while moving. Besides, adding features like intelligence will also be able to explore different environments.