Robot Mermaid Dives Deep


Scientists have achieved a remarkable first: they have successfully sent a humanoid robot down to an ancient shipwreck to retrieve a delicate vase from the sunken vessel. (Guardian)

What is a robot? Use our resources to find out.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Discussion Ideas


  • According to Stanford, OceanOne is a successful marriage of robotics, artificial intelligence and haptic feedback systems. What is robotics?
    • Robotics is a branch of electronics that deals with the study, construction, operation, and use of robots.
      • Robots are machines that can perform tasks. Humanoid robots like OceanOne have human characteristics or form: OceanOne is roughly human-sized (about five feet); its front-facing cameras are housed in a rounded casing that looks like eyes in a face; its remarkable hands have sensors and articulated joints.


  • What is artificial intelligence?
    • Artificial intelligence, or AI, describes the capacity of a computer or robot to perform operations analogous to learning and decision-making in humans.
      • In OceanOne, for instance, can gauge ocean currents and turbulence, automatically adjusting thrusters and motion sensors to stay steady and avoid collisions.


  • What is haptic feedback?
    • Haptics is the study or use of tactile sensations and the sense of touch as a method of interacting with computers and electronic devices. Haptic feedback is a familiar feature on mobile devices: vibrations often denote that a touchscreen button has been pressed.


  • How are computer scientists hoping to improve OceanOne’s haptics in the future?
    • Eventually, each of OceanOne’s fingers will be equipped with haptic sensors to make studying delicate shipwrecks, artifacts, or coral reefs even more efficient.


  • How was OceanOne piloted?
    • The robot mermaid was piloted using joysticks on a boat about 100 meters (328 feet) above the shipwreck.



Guardian: Humanoid diving robot hunts for sunken treasure in French shipwreck

Stanford: Maiden voyage of Stanford’s humanoid robotic diver recovers treasures from King Louis XIV’s wrecked flagship

Nat Geo: What is a robot?

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