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SEA BOTS

This robot eel is transparent, flexible, nearly silent, and glows in the ocean

  • Michael Tabb
By Michael Tabb

Video journalist

This article is more than 2 years old.

There’s something in the water at the University of California, San Diego—a glowing robot inspired by the movement of eel larvae.

Researchers at the school’s Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab have created one of the world’s softest underwater robots by taking an innovative approach to its conductive components. Instead of having electricity travel through wires to metal electrodes, voltage travels through silicone tubes to internal water chambers. As voltage builds up in the water chambers, the robot’s modular components bend in a specific sequence so the robot moves. (The electrical system is grounded by the ocean water in which the robotic eel is moving.)

Watch the above video to see it in action.

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