This robot’s not snacking on shrimp or plankton to get its energy
Many of us consider jellyfish a nuisance when we’re walking along the beach or swimming in salty waves. While some species are highly hazardous, and others are nothing but harmless, for a bunch of (essentially) brainless animals, they sure do have some moves!
Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech have created an underwater robot inspired by the moon jellyfish. The robot’s structure includes a double layered bell-shaped silicon umbrella attached to artificial muscles that contract when heated. These mock-muscles put this bot ahead of the game! As the water’s hydrogen and oxygen contacts the pseudo-jelly’s platinum coated carbon nanotubes, heat and water vapor are naturally created. The heat causes a contraction that moves the muscles of the machine while pumping out the water and initiating the cycle again.
Since this bot feeds off water’s natural elements, it’s never in need of any refueling. Likewise, water is all it releases back into the environment so it gets itself around in an environmentally friendly fashion!
Research for the development of Robojelly was funded by the USA’s Office of Naval Research which is particularly interested in the robot’s ability to monitor the seas however, researchers suggest it could also be used to measure levels of pollutants in large bodies of water.
The combination of new materials and creative engineering are paving the way for all sorts of green energy solutions. Click HERE to check out a European initiative which believes in the importance of creating helpful machines in a sustainable way.