Scientists Created A Cyborg Jellyfish That Can Swim 3 Times Faster

Scientists Created A Cyborg Jellyfish That Can Swim 3 Times Faster
Credit: Rebecca Konte/Caltech

Who exactly was after a cyborg jellyfish? Turns out there’s some serious interest in making the sea’s finest invertebrates into sleek pulsing speed machines.

As CNET reports researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed a microelectric prosthetic that, when implanted in a jellyfish can give them a bit of a speed boost.

Quite a bit, in fact, with the new bionic jellyfish capable of pulsing " and by extension swimming " three times as quickly as a regular jellyfish.

What's quite impressive here is that while swimming at extra speed does require more energy exertion for the jellyfish, it's not three times as exhausting. Instead, the energy output is said to be only about double that of regular jellyfish swimming.

The implant works by altering the electrical currents that the jellyfish use to pulse through the water, but before you worry about those poor sea-borne invertebrates, they're not caused any harm by the increased electrical activity.

So why would you want sleeker, faster jellyfish?

Because they're excellent subjects for oceanic exploration and discovery. After all, they already live there, so unlike any kind of swimming robot you wouldn't be substantially littering the world's oceans if anything went wrong with them. Jellyfish can rather easily traverse all kinds of oceanic conditions from the crashing surface waves to the high pressure depths, which again makes them a good subject for this kind of experimentation.

All of which is very cool, but I know what you're thinking, and I'm way ahead of you. You can hear Kent's voice in your head right now, can't you?

[CNET]