University engineers are building a human-sized robotic jellyfish that may one day patrol the oceans for months without intervention by operators.
Still a prototype, Virginia Tech’s “Cyro” robot is powered by a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery, and can collect, store, analyze and communicate data from onboard sensors. A distinctive soft polymer covering mimics the animal’s jelly umbrella-shaped upper bell. This is attached to a rigid robotic skeleton. Cyro measures 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighs 170 pounds.
Researchers chose to mimic the marine invertebrate because its form conserves energy during movement and the creatures are found throughout the world’s oceans.