Image from the below Forbes article by Joanna Nassar.
Here we go again, my friends. Just when you thought I might write about something new or even vaguely interesting, I’m back at it again with wearable data sensors for the third time in a month. Why the hell are scientists trying to slap a fancy thermometer on everything coming within 5 miles of the ocean? Well, it’s because the ocean is 1) huge, but also 2) really, really important for life on Earth, and 3) absorbing the majority of the heat we’ve been churning out (climate change would be waaaaaaay worse by now if the planet wasn’t 71% ocean). So we have this big, important thing that we’re mostly in the dark about and it’s changing rapidly – of course we’re trying anything and everything to get some good information.
Which brings us to Bluefin™ (ooooooh a TM!). This absolute latest in making-animals-do-the-work-for-us technology comes from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Where it differs from the previous gadgets we’ve discussed is Bluefin™ was not designed for a particular species, but rather can be adapted to piggyback on just about any available sea creature due to it’s low-profile, skin-like silicon design. It’s been prototyped on crabs, dolphins, tuna, sharks, and more critters and has kept on truckin’ at depths up to two kilometers (if you call football ‘soccer’, that’s 6,500 feet). Co-inventor and KAUST PhD graduate Joanna Nassar is continuing to develop the technology with new sensing capabilities and better battery life to broaden its applicability (at Stanford, no less). Very, very rad of her.
I want to note that although I’ve bombarded you with three very similar rad developments in a short amount of time, this isn’t a competition. This is not Android vs. iPhone, Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD, or McDonald’s vs. Burger King (correct answer is Taco Bell). All three of these technologies – the cyborg jellyfish, the Remora devices for divers, and now Bluefin™ – can contribute to our understanding of the global ocean at the same time. Plus, we’ll still use the technology we already have and continue to develop dozens more innovations. Each approach expands our reach and understanding. The planet is 71% ocean, remember? That’s a lot to cover and the climate crisis is wreaking havoc right now. I’d say it’s wise we’re covering all our bases.
Johnny Venger apologizes for getting a little deep just now (like 2 kilometers / 6,500 feet deep).