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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Robojelly: hydrogen-powered robot jellyfish is squishy awesome

Peanut butter and Robojelly probably wouldn't go together.
(Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

That innocent-looking jellyfish floating along in the ocean may actually be Robojelly, a hydrogen-fuelled robot surveillance jellyfish in development for the US Navy.

It seems like the US Navy is getting all the cool toys these days. Hot on the heels of the Saffir humanoid firefighting robot comes Robojelly.

Robojelly may sound like the business half of a sandwich for Cylons, but it's actually a robotic jellyfish.

If we accept the premise that robots are inherently cool, then we have to extrapolate that underwater robots based on gelatinous sea creatures are extra cool. Robojelly is the nickname for a project under development by Alex Villanueva at Virginia Tech for the Office of Naval Research.

The robotic critter is biomimetic, so it's designed to work a lot like a real jellyfish. The tech behind Robojelly can be described with the fun technical term "shape memory alloy composites actuators". Loosely translated, this means that Robojelly mimics the muscle action of a jellyfish with flexible smart materials that re-form to its original shape.

Robojelly looks and acts like a biological tentacle-y creature, but it has made one big improvement: the robot is hydrogen powered, so it could theoretically just keep on going as long as it has hydrogen and oxygen from water to convert into energy.

The primary mission for the Robojelly is likely to be surveillance. Who's going to look twice at an amorphous jellyfish blob? Keep that in mind the next time you plan to go skinny dipping in the ocean.

Read more at Crave UK


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