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Robot Jellyfish Created to Patrol the Waters

Update Date: Mar 29, 2013 12:53 PM EDT

Getting robots to patrol other planets and the deep blue ocean have been effective alternatives in helping scientists learn more about the world. Researchers from Virginia Tech College of Engineering announced that they have created a robot jellyfish named Cyro, who can patrol the waters and help scientists learn more about the environment under the sea. The research team had previously created a robotic jellyfish that was the size of a human head in their attempt to find something that can monitor the events under water. After long hours of work, the team has modified the jellyfish and created a functional robot.

Cyro was designed after the jellyfish, Cyanea capillata and stands at five feet and seven inches tall, weighing 170 pounds. Like real jellyfish, Cyro has eight functional legs, but these legs buzz from the mechanical composition that the researchers made from a strong metal framework. Cyro is completely covered in silicone and swims like a normal jellyfish. Unlike the jellyfish, however, Cyro can gather, store, analyze, and transmit information.

The research team chose to mimic the jellyfish model because the researchers know that the sea creatures' movements take up very little energy. The researchers believed that by copying the jellyfish's movements, the robots they create would ideally also take up less energy than robots modeled after other sea creatures. The research team hopes that Cyro will be the first functioning robot that can effectively collect information on the environment under the sea that is difficult to evaluate by humans alone. The autonomous robot will ideally travel and live in the oceans and provide surveillance of the ocean and how it functions. However, more work needs to be put into the robot to perfect it before it can be used effectively.

The U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the office of Naval research funded Cyro and the robotic jellyfish before it. The project costs $5 million. 

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