The device was tested in the open ocean at a depth of 1,600 to 2,300 ft.
Studying soft-bodied deep sea creatures like jellyfish and squid have been a difficult task for marine biologists as existing underwater tools cause damage or even kill them.
Now, researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have developed an origami-inspired sampler using folding polyhedral sides that can trap deep sea soft creatures without causing them any harm. The research was recently published in Science Robotics.
“We approach these animals as if they are works of art: would we cut pieces out of the Mona Lisa to study it? No – we’d use the most innovative tools available. These deep-sea organisms, some being thousands of years old, deserve to be treated with a similar gentleness when we’re interacting with them,” adds collaborating author David Gruber from City University of New York in a release. “We’d like to add cameras and sensors to the sampler so that, in the future, we can capture an animal, collect lots of data about it like its size, material properties, and even its genome, and then let it go, almost like an underwater alien abduction.”