Scientists have successfully developed a robot jellyfish that could be used to monitor and protect delicate marine ecosystems in the future. Credible sources claim that these robots, powered by hydraulic silicon tentacles, could swim through openings that are narrower than their own bodies.
These jellybots could purportedly be deployed into fragile environments, such as coral reefs, without risking damage or collision, the sources explained. Further, it was informed that the shape of the jellybot has been inspired by the moon jellyfish, having the scientific term Aurelia aurita.
One of the robot’s inventors, Dr. Erik Engeberg, stated that monitoring and studying delicate environments has been very challenging for marine researchers and these Soft robots could potentially help in this regard. He also said that biomimetic soft robots, based on marine animals, have recently gained popularity in the research community and jellyfish are ideal nominees as they are very efficient swimmers.
According to the creators, a hydraulic system operated by two impeller pumps allows the robot to swim and steer. The water from surrounding environment is quietly pumped inside the jellyfish to inflate all its silicon tentacles while the natural elasticity of the tentacles pushes the water back out when the pumps are not powered, resulting in a back and forth sequence that mimics the swimming stroke of a real-life jellyfish.
Dr. Engeberg mentioned that the choice of going with soft hydraulic network actuators for the robot was to prevent inadvertent damage to the ecosystem in the monitoring and exploring process. He emphasized that the hydraulic actuators help to give the robot a neutral buoyancy just like live jellyfish.
Apparently, five jellybots with differen t hardness levels were developed for the tests using 3D printing techniques. Future robots would supposedly have navigational programming and environmental sensors to aid them find gaps and decide if they can swim through them.