Underwater Device Captures Deep Sea Creatures | AIChE

Underwater Device Captures Deep Sea Creatures


Engineers at Harvard Univ. have developed a 12-sided self-folding device capable of capturing creatures from the darkest depths of the ocean, an innovation that has the potential to revolutionize our knowledge of marine organisms.

The ocean is staggeringly vast — it covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and its deepest trenches plunge to over 11 km. It also remains the largest and least-explored environment on the planet, with an estimated one million species living still unseen by human eyes in the deep pelagic zone, a part of the open ocean far from any coast and thus extremely difficult to explore.

These deep pelagic species are notoriously elusive because of their often squishy and gelatinous nature, which can mean destruction at the hands of traditional collection methods that involve the use of fishing nets.

Inspired by origami, the new device is so gentle that it will not shred unsuspecting jellyfish to pieces. Thus, creators of the new device have advocated its potential as a method of noninvasive environmental sampling and analysis.

The unfolded sampler consists of five identical polymer petals attached to a central closure panel. Each petal is also attached to a series of rotating joints that are linked to...

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