Robotic underwater vehicle mimics jellyfish motion

The researchers of Virginia Tech developed a robotic underwater vehicle called as Robojelly. As this jellyfish-inspired robot is powered by hydrogen and oxygen in the water, it never runs out of energy. It is currently in the initial stage, and expected to be used in underwater rescue and surveillance operations.

Yonas Tadesse, an author of Robojelly study said that “To our knowledge, this is the first successful powering of an underwater robot using external hydrogen as a fuel source.” This study is published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures by Britain’s Institute of Physics.

Robojelly is incorporated with eight segments of shape metal alloys, which certainly remind us the unique shape of jellyfish. Each segment is covered with carbon nanotubes and platinum black powder. It makes use of hydrogen and oxygen in the water as fuel for producing heat.

The heat generated will be transferred to the artificial muscles of Robojelly. This process leads to the contraction of eight segments, and therefore, the water is ejected. The segments will then loosen up and get back into their natural shape.

As a result of this accomplishment, the Robojelly swims in the water indefinitely without any need of other external power sources like battery.

Currently, Robojelly will swim in only one direction because of its collective segment activation. The research team has also planned to activate each segment independently to provide different moving directions.

You can catch the action of Robojelly in the below video.

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