But via haptic feedback technology and artificial intelligence, Stanford University's humanoid diving robot is now putting the ocean's depths within human reach. In its maiden expedition, the OceanOne droid has just scoured an untouched shipwreck off the coast of France and returned with a delicate, 17th century vase in its grip. Researchers are now eyeing future voyages to coral reefs, oil rigs and underwater disaster zones.
With our deep sea diving capabilities only taking us so far, we have long sought to send robots down below to do the investigating for us. We have seen swimming robots inspired by jellyfish, eels, octopi and rays, but in the view of the Stanford researchers the human form could have plenty to offer these aquatic endeavors as well.
OceanOne was originally dreamt up as a tool to study coral reefs deep in the Red Sea with a delicacy of touch resembling that of a human.