Virginia Tech engineers have created a robot jellyfish which they have named Cyro. This project, which is funded by the US Navy, has a $5 million dollar price tag to its name and is the second prototype of the design. The first prototype was named Robojelly, and was only the size of a human hand.
Cyro is modeled after the Lion’s Mane jellyfish, which is the world’s largest jellyfish. The robot weighs roughly 170 pounds and is almost six feet in diameter, which roughly equates to the size of an average man. Cyro has eight robotic tentacles and a silicon covered skeleton that acts much like a real jellyfish exterior.
The choice to create a robotic jellyfish was not an accident. Jellyfish use less energy to swim, making them more effective models for aquatic life robots than say, a shark.
Right now, the robot jellyfish only has a four hour battery pack. The intended future duration should be able to last for days, weeks, months, or longer.
So what exactly do we need a robot jellyfish for anyway? There are many beneficial uses that could be utilized. While Cyro’s brother prototype Robojelly was originally created by the US Navy for potential military use, there is not a definitive answer as to whether or not the US Navy will actually use the robot.
With that out of mind, Cyro could open up a variety of ways to help the environment. Previous unexplored areas of the ocean may become accessible to scientists in the future, opening up new doors for new discoveries of species. It could also mean a new way to monitor endangered species and ecological areas that are under concern for environmental stress.
Cyro could also be used to monitor areas that experience disasters whether they are natural or man-made. It can give us insight that may not have been previously available to us before.
Overall, the robot jellyfish Cyro is an amazing creation. Since the robot is only in the prototype stage, it will be a while before we see a release into the oceans and lakes of our world.