Gentle robot hand nabs sea creatures in the deep ocean

ZDNet

We know surprisingly little about life in the deep ocean, one of the last unexplored realms on our planet. ROVs capable of deep ocean exploration have begun to open up this mysterious realm, but sea life is elusive and difficult to study in the field. Many deep sea creatures are soft-bodied, as they don't need hard shells to protect them from larger predators. Catching these creatures typically means killing them. A robotic hand developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Radcliffe's Institute for Advanced Study may help.


Robot hand is soft and strong

#artificialintelligence

Fifty years ago, the first industrial robot arm (called Unimate) assembled a simple breakfast of toast, coffee, and champagne. While it might have looked like a seamless feat, every movement and placement was coded with careful consideration. Even with today's more intelligent and adaptive robots, this task remains difficult for machines with rigid hands. They tend to work only in structured environments with predefined shapes and locations, and typically can't cope with uncertainties in placement or form. In recent years, though, roboticists have come to grips with this problem by making fingers out of soft, flexible materials like rubber.


New robot hand is soft and strong

#artificialintelligence

While it might have looked like a seamless feat, every movement and placement was coded with careful consideration. Even with today's more intelligent and adaptive robots, this task remains difficult for machines with rigid hands. They tend to work only in structured environments with predefined shapes and locations, and typically can't cope with uncertainties in placement or form. In recent years, though, roboticists have come to grips with this problem by making fingers out of soft, flexible, materials like rubber. This pliability lets these soft robots pick up anything from grapes to boxes and empty water bottles, but they're still unable to handle large or heavy items.


See the Hidden Eating Habits of Deep-Sea Creatures

National Geographic News

Of all Earth's major ecosystems, the deep sea is one of the least understood--even though it is the largest. But a new comprehensive study that looked at 30 years of video footage from remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) is helping researchers piece together a more accurate map of who is eating whom underwater.


This Mysterious Deep-Sea Jellyfish Looks Like a Plastic Bag

National Geographic News

Roughly 50 years ago, the French explorer Jacques Cousteau was sniffing around in the deep ocean with the submarine DEEPSTAR 4000. Built in 1965, the vessel helped to identify life lurking thousands of feet below the ocean's surface before it was retired in 1972. Among those species was a giant, tentacle-less jellyfish, which eventually came to be known as Deepstaria enigmatica. As the name suggests, D. enigmatica is a mysterious specimen that hasn't extensively been studied. The jelly resembles a large trash bag, with a thin, broad, delicate bell covered in a net of interconnected canals, and it lives about 3,000 feet deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Indian and Southern oceans.