Today’s strange topic is robotic jellyfish. The idea has been around for a while and there are now several different working models. I got interested in them back in 2013 with this article:
Swimming with the Robotic Jellyfish
Virginia Tech College of Engineering researchers have unveiled a life-like, autonomous robotic jellyfish the size and weight of a grown man, 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighing 170 pounds. The prototype robot, nicknamed Cyro, is a larger model of a robotic jellyfish the same team — headed by Shashank Priya of Blacksburg, Va., and professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech — unveiled in 2012. The earlier robot, dubbed RoboJelly, is roughly the size of a man’s hand, and typical of jellyfish found along beaches.
“A larger vehicle will allow for more payload, longer duration and longer range of operation,” said Alex Villanueva of St-Jacques, New-Brunswick, Canada, and a doctoral student in mechanical engineering working under Priya. “Biological and engineering results show that larger vehicles have a lower cost of transport, which is a metric used to determine how much energy is spent for traveling.”
Both robots are part of a multi-university, nationwide $5 million project funded by U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research. The goal is to place self-powering, autonomous machines in waters for the purposes of surveillance and monitoring the environment, in addition to other uses such as studying aquatic life, mapping ocean floors, and monitoring ocean currents. …
More: Eureka Alert
Here are a few videos of robotic jellyfish to enjoy.
I really like this AirJelly, a flying robotic jellyfish.
Here’s one that flys by flapping its wings:
We still have a lot to learn by imitating nature and I think we can expect to see many new strange and interesting nature-inspired technological innovations in coming years.