Soft Robot Gives Jellyfish A Hug – Science Friday

Soft Robot Gives Jellyfish A Hug – Science Friday

One of the biggest problems in marine biology is a practical one. How do you study ocean life? Some of the ocean’s most delicate creatures—brittle coral, miniature squid, and squishy jellyfish —can’t make the journey to the lab for further study. So, marine scientists are looking to bring the lab to them, with a new suite of soft robotics that can safely perform tests on these organisms while still underwater. And this week in the journal Science Robotics, scientists report making progress towards that goal, with a six-fingered robotic gripper. The soft robotic hand can capture something as delicate as a jellyfish, which is 95% water, without harming it.

David Gruber, the presidential professor of biology at Baruch College at the City University of New York and a National Geographic Explorer, joins Ira to talk about how the new jellyfish gripper and other soft robots are helping marine biologists more carefully study ocean life.

The soft robotic gripper of gelatinous creatures. Credit: Anand Varma

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Segment Guests

David Gruber

David Gruber is a professor of biology at Baruch College at City University of New York.

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About Katie Feather

Katie Feather is an associate producer for Science Friday and the proud mother of two cats, Charleigh and Sadie.

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Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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