By Kat Berry
Researchers at Virginia Tech college of Engineering have revealed a stunningly lifelike autonomous robotic jellyfish the size of a full grown man. The robot is 5 foot and 7 inches long coming in at 170 pounds. And is designed to run on its own energy and to use less energy like a real jellyfish then other aquatic animals. It could potentially stay in the ocean for months before needing to come back to land.
This robot is controlled by eight mechanical arms run by electrical motors used with a silicone base artificial jellyfish jelly skin. The artificial skin of the robot is made of the same silicone used to make movie masks. The floating skin gives the jellyfish an eerily lifelike appearance in the water as it moves just like its real life counterparts.
This is a versatile robot as well since there is a great variety of jellyfish in the ocean found in not only in shallow waters but some have been found in areas 7000 feet below sea level. Jellyfish also inhabit every major oceanic area of the world.
We can just imagine the coast guard or Navy releasing these lifelike jellyfish in the ocean to patrol our borders or even spy on other nations. Or businesses could use them to look for the best sea lanes by finding current locations or look for fish or many other uses. The other potentials for this robot are incredible. Although this is only a prototype and is years away from actually being released; imagine releasing jellyfish to clean up oil spills rather than scrambling to contain the spill and find a way to clean up the mess after its been contained. This method could save time and start cleaning as it contain the mess.