The Robotic Jellyfish Spy

Photo Credit: FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY

This jellyfish can’t sting, but it might electrocute you

Imagine snorkeling for the day and you spot what appears to be a unique looking jellyfish. Upon closer examination, you realize that the jellyfish is… a robot? 

Mechanical Engineers from Florida Atlantic University developed this robot as a way to study coral reefs and the creatures that inhabit them. In the past, scientists have used drones as a means of study, but the propellers were ripping up the reefs and hurting the living creatures, and the noises they produced were scaring other creatures away.

This robot was thus created as a solution to the problem. It is a much quieter sea traveler that can spend time in the water without harming anything in its path. It is equipped with sensors that are used to collect data. 

The device itself is made of silicone rubber. The rubber tentacles resemble the looks and movements of a jellyfish. Underneath the device you will find pumps that collect seawater and then direct it towards the tentacles, which helps the tentacles move in a natural fashion. When the power cuts out, the tentacles relax, and it forces the device to shoot in an upward motion. 

On the top of the jellyfish is a hard case that allows for wireless communication to its core. The robot can be remotely steered by a human, thus controlling the tentacle movement as well as exactly where they hope to collect data. 

Its realistic slow-moving motion should not scare away any of the sea creatures. This device can help scientists track the temperature, which helps with climate change research. This data can help to protect the reefs as well as warn people of worsening weather conditions by predicting the power of storms and coastal flooding potential. 

This jellyfish is predicted to be the nature spy of the future. Don’t worry, it won’t zap you.

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