Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech are using the concept of biomimicry to experiment with a robot that could, in the future, provide a model for the design of undersea surveillance and rescue vehicles.
So far, researchers have applied their approach to a robotic jellyfish (see the video below for a demonstration). The robotic jellyfish uses hydrogen and oxygen gasses in water as its source of energy. The work is described in Smart Materials and Structures.
"We've created an underwater robot that doesn't need batteries or electricity," said Yonas Tadesse, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas, and one of the study's authors, in a statement about the research. "It feeds off hydrogen and oxygen gasses and the only waste released as it travels is water."
The idea is that in the future, product designers may be able to use the concepts for the jellyfish in unmanned robots used in rescue and reconnaissance situations.