Gentle Electric Eel

It’s no shock that electric eels get a bad rap for being scary creatures. They are slithery fleshy water snakes who can call down lightning. Biologists and engineers at the University of California had something else in mind when they designed their electric eel. Instead of hunting fish, this one swims harmlessly alongside them.

Traditional remotely operated vehicles have relied on hard shells and spinning propellers. To marine life, this is noisy and unnatural. A silent swimmer doesn’t raise any eyebrows, not that fish have eyebrows. The most innovative feature is the artificial muscles, and although the details are scarce, they seem to use a medium on the inside to conduct a charge, and on the outside, the saltwater environment conducts an opposite charge which causes a contraction in the membrane between to the inside and outside. Some swimming action can be seen below the break, and maybe one of our astute readers can shed some light on this underwater adventurer’s bill of materials.

One of our favorite submarines is the 2017 Hackaday Prize winner, The Open Source Underwater Glider. For a more artistic twist on submersibles, the Curv II is one of the most elegant we have seen.

Thank you for the tip, [Qes].

22 thoughts on “Gentle Electric Eel

      1. ‘bad rap’ could also work (either as a truncation of ‘rapport’ or relating to a ‘rap sheet’ which would list one’s criminal past) but certainly not a ‘bad wrap’ which sounds more like a fajita you didn’t enjoy :-)

    1. I hate to be a the one, but it’s actually ‘Bad rap’ similar to ‘rap sheet’. I like to think it comes from rapport, but there’s no evidence for that.

    2. They are used differently, at least where I grew up. A bad “Rap” was a bad deal, or getting busted for something you did not do. A bad “Rep” is used short for reputation as you said.

  1. 3m VHB 4905 tape, corn starch to keep it from sticking together in the middle, de-ionised water (both sides), food coloring inside. High Voltage you will probably need from 5-10 kV DC.

    1. Just watched it the other day.
      I wasn’t high. Big mistake.
      With out the drugs I couldn’t understand it.
      Next time I watch it I will have to get high. Really High.

      Nice job Thanks.

      1. Heh… it’s a handy track to have around if you’ve got a “stereo” amplifier where you’re troubleshooting one channel. You’ll either hear the backing vocals in the chorus and melody, or you’ll hear the lead vocals and the percussion.

        For what it’s worth; Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is good for that too for much the same reason.

        1. OMG, this happened to me. It was one of those CD-ROM cassette adapter things for old cars, and the play heads were misaligned. I only heard one of the two channels. It was terrifying.

          Ringo may be a great drummer, but he’s a horrible singer.

          1. In my case, it was one channel of a cassette recorder being stuffed, recording that Buffalo Springfield song. (Battery corrosion is nasty stuff.)

            I got the backing vocals (in the chorus) and the repetitious backing melody. Don’t mind the song in small doses, but not when half the track is missing.

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