A robot mermaid is the new way to explore oceans

Posted at 9:47 AM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 10:17:22-04

A humanoid robot just explored its first shipwreck. 

The OceanOne, developed by a team at Stanford University, had its first real-world test recently when it surveyed the wreckage of La Lune, a 17th century ship that sunk near the southern coast of France. 

It basically looks like a robot mermaid, but instead of a tail, it uses a series of thrusters to move around the ocean. 

The bot's hands are fitted with sensors that can send feedback to the operator. It gives the human controller a better sense for when the robot is touching something firm or delicate. 

The team that developed the robot says that technology allowed the OceanOne to bring back a centuries-old vase from La Lune without accidentally crushing it.

It's meant to keep human divers out of potentially dangerous situations in something like deep-water mining or oil-rig maintenance. 

There's another robot that fills a similar role, but instead of taking a humanoid shape, it looks a lot like a snake

At least the OceanOne is a little less creepy-looking.

This video includes images from Stanford University.