The designers, led by Christa Jordi and colleagues from EMPA, the Swiss federal laboratories for materials testing and research in Dübendorf, replaced traditional motors with swaths of acrylic polymers on each side of the Airfish. The polymers connect to carbon electrodes, and when a voltage moves across them, the electrodes are attracted to each other, compressing the polymers. The Airfish is forced to flex like a contracting muscle. By alternating the voltages applied to each side of the vehicle, the team can make the ship shimmy like a fish. Membranes on the tail move it back and forth, too.