Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyBeing a turtle is so over, being a robot is so in.

If you have SCUBA dived or snorkeled, you have probably been in the presence of the lumbering majesty of a sea turtle. And you probably thought it was great, because seriously, sea turtles? Amazing. And now, great news for ocean life enthusiasts everywhere: We have a whole new kind of sea turtle to love. A robot sea turtle.

Right now you’re probably asking, what is the point of a robot sea turtle? After all, regular sea turtles do pretty much nothing, unless you count swimming and slowly and comically ingesting pieces of sea lettuce. Robotic sea turtles, on the other hand, can do all sorts of things. They can find out where a pipeline or a ship hull is damaged. Or the extent of an oil spill, or locate bodies in the wake of a disaster.

You may now be asking: Why do we need a mechanical turtle? Why can’t we make a mechanical tuna? We’re so glad you asked. In fact, the brains behind this “Naro-Tartaruga” — a group of students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich — initially tried this whole thing with tuna, but they were just too sleek and compact to carry all that spy crap which the big fat turtle masters handily. Plus, turtles are surprisingly agile despite their girth.

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As this mechanical turtle is developed further, we have just one request: Could they make it so it still makes that stupid dazed turtle face when it eats?

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