Engineers at Virginia Tech University have built an autonomous robotic jellyfish, according to a release from the school. The craft is almost six feet long and comes in at 170 pounds.
The robot, nicknamed Cyro, is just a prototype, but is the second autonomous vessel developed by the team. The first robot was smaller – nearly the size of a human hand – and known as RoboJelly. The group’s goal is to develop the technology into self-powering, autonomous machines that can monitor the environment, study aquatic life and possibly map ocean floors.
Jellyfish are prime for mimicking because they appear naturally in different sizes, shapes and colors and inhabit every major world ocean. They can withstand a wide range of temperatures and need less energy than other ocean creatures.
Cyro was developed as part of a $5 million nationwide project funded by the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research.
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Image: Robotic jellyfish (Credit: Virginia Tech)