Robojellies find a new fuel source

Robot jellies, used for surveillance and monitoring, can now run purely on hydrogen.
Written by Rose Eveleth, Contributing Editor on

There’s been a lot of buzz about jellyfish taking over the ocean. But none of those take into account robojellies. Yes, move over robot fish, Robojelly is the new marine biomimetic robot on the block.

Engineers have built a biomimetic jellyfish – which they’ve dubbed Robojelly – out of silicon and something called “shape memory alloy.” That’s a fancy way of saying a metal that remembers its original shape. So as the bell moves and undulates, the underlying metal remembers which shape to return to.

Here’s what it looks like:

Robojelly itself isn’t new – a prototype has been around since 2006. But in this most recent development the little undulating bot uses hydrogen to power rather than electricity. Which means it can use the hydrogen and oxygen in the water to keep on swimming for basically forever.

Unsurprisingly, the work is supported by a grant from the U.S Navy. The mechanical jellies are cheap to produce, and can be outfitted with sensors and surveillance devices to keep track of everything from pollution to enemy submarines.

Via Institute of Physics
Photo from Luc Viator, Wikimedia Commons

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards