Researchers from Stanford University have developed a mermaid robot that can explore the oceans, looking for buried treasure, archaeological sites or finding new underwater creatures.
OceanOne looks just like a human but can dive to the bottom of oceans. The idea was developed to explore corals at the bottom of the Red Sea, but the robot’s initial mission was to dive the 32km to the bottom of the coast by Toulon, France in order to retrieve a vase from Louis XIV’s ship La Lune, which sank in 1664.
It has sensors on its hands to detect whether the item it’s about to grasp is fragile or not. It can find its way to the objects using cameras installed in the eye sockets and its artificial human brain can analyse the data it collects on its missions. It’s also small enough to explore small spaces thanks to its human-like maneouverability.
The creators of the marine robot wanted to make a machine for exploring potentially dangerous environments, but that can mimic the movements and decisions a human can, rather than using a rover-like bot that have been used on similar trips. Unfortunately, bottom movers like those already in existence could damage the fragile ocean floor, but swimmers like OceanOne can help preserve it.
“The intent here is to have a human diving virtually, to put the human out of harm’s way. Having a machine that has human characteristics that can project the human diver’s embodiment at depth is going to be amazing,” Oussama Khatib, a computer science professor at Stanford University told Stanford News.
The human controlling OceanOne above the water can experience everything as if they are the one underwater, feeling the object and making a decision whether to pick it up or not.