According to foreign media The Verge, the ocean is covered with many invertebrate marine life, including octopus, sea cucumber and sea bream. Although these soft bodies are fully adapted to the pressure of the ocean, for scientists who want to study them, this is A question. How do scientists capture them without harming them?
One answer may be the art of Japanese origami. Inspired by traditional paper folding techniques, engineers and marine biologists designed a 3D printed 12-sided origami trap that can be gently folded around unsuspecting marine life. A dodecahedron (RAD) called a rotary drive can be attached to the arm of an underwater rover and triggered remotely to safely capture soft marine life.
The device has been successfully tested to capture small catfish, octopus and jellyfish at 700 meters deep in the ocean. But it is designed to be strong enough to work at depths of 11 kilometers and can be easily extended to target larger creatures.
David Gruber, a marine biologist who helped design RAD, said that such new technology is the key to exploring the ocean. Since the 1920s, attempts to study marine life have depended on the successful fishing of fish and crustaceans at sea. This way it is easy to cause damage to these invertebrate marine life.
According to Gruber, this means that research on organisms such as jellyfish has been 'ignored'. For this reason, they are even called 'forgotten fauna'. Gruber said that with the help of new technology, scientists are just beginning Understand the important role these organisms play in marine ecosystems. 'On a global scale, gelatinous zooplankton is estimated to constitute more than 38 billion kilograms of biomass,' which accounts for approximately 7% of the world's total biomass, or More than 100 times the total human biomass.
However, designing RAD is not easy, and the device is filled with small but important design touches. For example, there is a gap between the dodecahedral panels to prevent pressure build-up inside when the ocean rover reaches the ground from the sea floor. The edges of these panels are also softer than the durable plastic of the body.
But according to Harvard mechanical engineer Zhi Ern Teoh, the key challenge is to deploy the origami with just one motor. This means that the entire system has fewer points of failure and can be folded and unfolded using a single command. This means that Teoh and his colleagues must design a series of complex connections that connect the 12 panels of each device back to the central motor. These must be light enough to not overload the motor and be strong enough to not ruin the task. Origami equipment is just a way to capture soft marine life. But Teoh and Gruber say that one of the big advantages of this new design is its potential for improvement.
As mentioned above, the basic origami mechanism can be expanded to almost any size, enabling it to capture larger species. Although the RAD is currently manually operated, it can also be turned into an automatic trap, attracting marine life with bait, and using sensors. To detect when they are in the right place.