Meet Cyro, an autonomous robotic jellyfish the size and weight of a male adult – it’s 1,74 metres in length and weighs 77 kilograms. Engineers at Virginia Tech, funded by the US Navy, developed Cyro to be an endurance undersea-monitoring machine. Catch Cyro in action in this video…
One requirement is that the life-like robot must be able to operate in the ocean for months or longer at a time, as engineers likely won’t be able to capture and repair the robots, or replace power sources.
The university researchers are considering how Cyro could help clean up oil spills, monitor the environment and ocean current, as well as study aquatic life and the ocean floors; however, the Navy might use the technology for subtle underwater surveillance.
Powered by a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery, the robot can manoeuvre in water by a rigid support structure with direct current electric motors, which control the mechanical arms that are used in conjunction with an artificial mesoglea (jelly-based pulp of the fish’s body) creating hydrodynamic movement.
With no central nervous system, jellyfish instead use a diffused nerve net to control movement and can complete complex functions. A parallel study on a bio-inspired control system is in progress, which will eventually replace the current simplified controller.
Cyro’s skin is comprised of a thick layer of silicone, which is placed over a bowl-shaped device containing the electronic guts of the robot. When moving, the skin floats and moves with the robot.
Source: Virgina Tech