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‘ALIENS’ in the Deep Captured

‘ALIENS’ in the Deep Captured

An open ocean is a world in itself, comprising of diversified living species with fancy appearance and characteristics along with delicate structures

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An open ocean is a world in itself, comprising of diversified living species with fancy appearance and characteristics along with delicate structures.

Marine animals are quite delicate since they are underwater species hence the water has an extensive effect on their bodily structure. Underwater organisms like octopus, starfish, jellyfish have soft-skinned bodies, which, when grasp with metallic instruments, might damage their organs for the purpose of study.

Researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute along with two other institutions named as John. A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, tried to capture underwater species in polyhedral bag which is safe for ventilation and enclosure, using an origami-inspired design. This was reported by one of the national geographer explorer as well as one of the researcher of Radcliffe institute.

The idea for using soft tools to capture sea animals emerged from the concept of collecting samples back in 2014 when one of the researcher named Zhi Ern asked a faculty member of Harvard school of design to come up with a computational 3D design for grasping sea animals gently and without any damage for the purpose of study. This idea was converted when an instrument of flat surfaced was given a thought to be changed in a 3D shape along with the help of a motor. Lately, previously made instruments were more for the purpose of mining and construction only.

This specialized instrument, now known as Rotary Actuated Dodecahedron (RAD), consists of five petals made up of polymers which are 3-D in nature. These metals are joint together at one place in order to form a shape like scaffold. An electric motor is also attached at the joint point which when turned on produces a torque effect allowing all the five petals to accumulate at one point forming a round box. The folding of the petals entirely depends on the joint which is the meeting point, the five petals and the motor.

RAD was first tested in a Mystic Aquarium where a Moon jellyfish was caught with the help of it and was released soon. In order to check the efficiency of RAD in an open ocean, this instrument was allowed to attach on remotely operated vehicle provided by Monetary Bay Aquarium Research Institute. There it was tested in the ocean as deep as 500-700 meters with the help of machinery and human controlled joystick. The application of RAD is quite handy in the place like deep ocean. however, there could be minimal chances of breakage of any of its part. Despite of this fact, the modular design of the tool makes it easy to replace that part in no time and can be send it to the ocean again. Due to its specialized look and features, it is also suitable to be sent in space for such activities. However, more modifications are in process to make it sustainable in oceans which are more deep.

This specific community of Harvard University along with the researchers of other institutions have opened up the gates for soft-robotics and also origami-inspired engineering structures. This technology has actually evolved the concept of new and unique innovations in the field of science and technology which is quite beneficial for the living organisms and researchers.

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