Scientists Build Jellyfish Robots to ‘Take Care of Earth’s Oceans’

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the new guardians of the ocean – robot jellyfish

It is a stunning and revolutionary project. Not to mention its really cool.

Scientists from the Atlantic University of Florida and experts from the Naval Research Office of the US Navy have come together to make a stunning ocean-caring project come to life.

They have developed a type of robot jellyfish to study and monitor fragile ecosystems of the ocean without damaging them.

As noted by experts in a study published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, the jellyfish robots are able to swim freely in all directions and pass through narrow gaps. The ‘jellybots’ get their design from the moon jellyfish (Aurelia Aurita) during the larval stage of its lifecycle.

In addition, its creators believe their robots could act as “guardians of the ocean” and be sent to delicate environments such as coral reefs without interfering with marine life.

Speaking about the ‘Jellybots’, Dr. Erik Engeberg, one of the robot’s inventors from Florida Atlantic University, said: “Studying and monitoring fragile environments, such as coral reefs, has always been challenging for marine researchers.  Soft robots have great potential to help with this.”

The Jellybot steers and swims thanks to a hydraulic system that is driven by two impeller pumps. When the pups are not working, the tentacles’ natural elasticity forces the water back out. This is how the robot mimics the real-life jellyfish, helping it fit perfectly in without disturbing marine life.

“Biomimetic soft robots based on fish and other marine animals have gained popularity in the research community in the last few years. Jellyfish are excellent candidates because they are very efficient swimmers. Their propulsive performance is due to the shape of their bodies, which can produce a combination of vortex, jet propulsion, rowing, and suction-based locomotion,” said Dr. Engeberg.

“A main application of the robot is exploring and monitoring delicate ecosystems, so we chose soft hydraulic network actuators to prevent inadvertent damage. Additionally, live jellyfish have neutral buoyancy. To mimic this, we used water to inflate the hydraulic network actuators while swimming,” concluded Dr. Engeberg.

Meet the new guardians of the ocean – robot jellyfish
Thrust force characterization of free-swimming soft robotic jellyfish


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