A still from TV animation: One of the Kratt brothers in animated form, watches as a Kratt brother as a mudskipper waves to another mudskipper.
“I grew up watching the Kratt brothers on Zoboomafoo and it was incredible to work with the Kratts team to develop the episode together."—Gargi Sadalgekar, doctoral student.

The Wild Kratts episode “A Fish Out of Water”— featuring Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Chen Li and team—is now available to stream on PBS Kids.

With live-action sequences filmed in January in Chen Li’s Terradynamics Lab and the Hackerman Hall Robotorium, the episode explores the rare abilities of the amphibious mudskipper. From the episode synopsis:  

“After a mishap involving lost Creature Power Discs, the bros become marooned in the world of the mudskipper, a fish that can walk on land. Martin and Chris must find their discs amongst a weird and foreign world of intense competition, territoriality, and unexpected dangers at every turn.” 

Wild Kratts, now in its seventh season, combines animation and live-action sequences, harnessing children’s natural fascination with animals to teach science concepts to kids ages 6 to 8.


A still from TV: The Kratt brothers talk in a lab with Associate Professor Chen Li and PhD student Divya Ramesh.

Divya Ramesh, Chen Li, and the Kratt Brothers

“My nieces were thrilled to see me on the show, and my hope is that they, along with every kid who has watched the show, are inspired to pursue a career in STEM,” said doctoral student Divya Ramesh. “It was a very fun and wholesome experience where we got to see the other side of the camera. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of streaming science shows made for kids, so it’s great that shows like Wild Kratts are out there and so accessible.” 

Li and Ramesh filmed the segment with the labs’ mudskippers while doctoral student Gargi Sadalgekar showcased robotics for the Kratt brothers in Hackerman Hall’s Robotorium. 

A still from TV: The Kratt brothers addressing the camera, filming in a robotics lab with PhD student Gargi Sadalgekar. Gargi is holding a snake-like robot.

The Kratt brothers and PhD student Gargi Sadalgekar

“I grew up watching the Kratt brothers on Zoboomafoo and it was incredible to work with the Kratts team to develop the episode together,” said Sadalgekar. “I’m a big advocate for encouraging kids to take an interest in STEM, especially girls. My eight-year-old cousin messaged me all excited about robots and mudskippers after she saw the show. She’s even added ‘robot scientist’ to her list of things to be when she grows up.” 

In the Terradynamics Lab, Chen Li’s group explores how organisms move through, sense, and react to complex environments. Studying animals like the mudskipper, they apply insights from creatures’ navigation abilities to robotics technology.  

A mudskipper out of water.

“I grew up loving to watch animal documentaries (the Chinese equivalent of David Attenborough’s programs),” said Li. “But I had no idea one could actually do research on live animals until I found my PhD advisor’s lab. It is wonderful and fortunate that I get to work with students to make little discoveries that can be made into such programs for future scientists and engineers!”