Scientists in the U.S. have invented a robotic underwater which is inspired by jellyfish. The robot powers itself with sea water.
The bio-mimetic jellyfish is still in the early stage of its development, but researchers hope that it can be used in underwater rescue operations.
The researchers at the Virginia Tech, the University of Texas and other schools are working together to develop the robotic jellyfish.
In a paper published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, Yonas Tadesse, lead author of the study, said that the jellyfish's swimming action made it an ideal model for a vehicle.
The robot, which is funded by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research, is made from a combination of silicone and other high-tech materials. The Robojelly with the help of oxygen and hydrogen in seawater activate a chemical reaction to contract its artificial muscles.
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Robojelly is fuelled by heat producing chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen in water as it encounters platinum.
The heat generated is then transferred to the artificial muscles of the robot and remodels them.
This means that the Robojelly can redevelop fuel from the heat rather than running off an external power source or batteries. This means that the robot will never run out of energy.
To our knowledge, this is the first successful powering of an underwater robot using external hydrogen as a fuel source, Tadesse was quoted as saying by the BBC.
A jellyfish uses its circular muscles in the inside of its umbrella-like bell to move. The bell is the important part of the body which is made mostly of mesoglea encased by a skin-like layer called the epidermis.
When the muscles contract, the bell closes in and throws out water to push itself forward. When they relax, the bell regains its original shape.