Researchers from Virginia Tech recently unveiled a life-like, autonomous robotic jellyfish that could one day patrol the oceans. The robotic jellyfish, nicknamed Cyro, is the size of an adult human being and weighs 170 pounds. The development of the robot is a part of a $5 million U.S. Navy-funded project.
“The artificial mesoglea is basically a big blob of silicone,” said Alex Villanueva, a graduate student of Virginia Tech College of Engineering. “We use the same type of silicone that’s used for making masks that you see in movies and things like that. It’s very soft, which mimics the same mechanical properties as the natural animal and basically that’s the jelly of the jellyfish.”
Jellyfish are ideal candidates for the type of animal to mimic because of their ability to consume energy at a slower rate, their variety of different sizes, shapes and colors and are capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures in both salt and fresh waters.
A robot jellyfish could be used in the future for military surveillance, cleaning oil spills or monitoring the environment.