Robot Jelly Fish Developed as a Submarine Drone Fuelled by Water

April 6, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

In an interesting military research attempt, scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech has successfully developed a new submarine drone, which looks like a jellyfish and needs no stored fuel for acceleration.

The newly developed submarine drone is just a foot long and can be fueled with the help of Hydrogen and Oxygen in the sea water through which it sails, giving one of the easiest and sustainable ways of spying on enemy submarines.

Dubbed Robojelly, the submarine drone can operate without the help of batteries or electricity, refueling itself from the water around while on a surveillance mission. According to Dr. Yonas Tadesse, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas, who took part in the research, the submarine will release no waste other than water.

Though it looks like a real jellyfish in water, Robojelly actually consists of two bell-shaped structures each of which are not bigger than an average human fist.

They are made up of silicone and can be folded and unfolded akin to an umbrella. Artificial muscles that move the submarine through contractions connect the umbrella pieces.

Funded by the Office of Naval Research, an establishment under US Navy to enhance research and development activities for the naval force of the country, the Robojelly  researchers recently published their findings in an academic journal named Smart Materials and Structure.

The research points to the increasing interest with military researchers to mimic nature’s creatures for military surveillance mechanism.

The US army is reportedly pursuing research to develop insect cyborgs, which are insects fitted with mechanical elements at the larval stage, which help scientists to control them later.

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