The Biodesign Institute
PO Box 875001
Tempe, AZ 85287-5001
The Biodesign Institute seeks to harness the blueprints found throughout the Earth’s 3.8 billion year old patterns of life into bio-inspired innovation. Biodesign is spearheading ASU’s innovative application of bio-inspired research to serve as a model for 21st century academic research. These principles also include an entrepreneurial research culture attractive to scientists uniquely capable of working across disciplines and in close cooperation with industry.
The dream of the robot fish borders on science fiction: An ad hoc network of tiny, semi-autonomous robots, swarming about hydrothermal vents and gas-hydrate pinnacles, reporting back to a central hub 24 hours a day, seven days a week all wirelessly connected to and powered by a local undersea node. Cutting-edge materials like electro-kinetic polymers allow these “fish” to swim about. Mostly water, their design will embrace the pressure rather than fight it. Of course the term “fish” is used loosely; these bots may actually look more like neutrally buoyant plastic bags or flashing spheres about the size of a softball. Their solid-state, optical sensors and controls will make minimum use of energy and space. Their telemetry and data transmission will operate at frequencies that used to be only possible on land. If any of these topics interests you, we look forward to hearing from you.
Just as important as the physical condition of the underwater environment is the health and response of the organisms living within it. Only very recently have probes been developed that can utilize genetic information to monitor biological processes in situ. The development of reliable and inexpensive sensors for in situ monitoring of specific target organisms and their byproducts around the node network will provide information on dynamic changes in the biological community. Our sensors will provide important information about distinct groups of primary producers stretching from the planktonic life in the euphotic zone to the very bottom of the ocean.