Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Stay on target It takes one to know one. Or, in this case, it takes one to study one.A team of scientists from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the U.S. Office of Naval Research are using robot jellyfish to monitor delicate elements of the ocean.Designed to swim freely, steer, and move through narrow openings, the bio-inspired bot may be the key to underwater research.“Studying and monitoring fragile environments, such as coral reefs, has always been challenging for marine researchers. Soft robots have great potential to help with this,” FAU associate professor Erik Engeberg said in a statement.Soft robots based on all sorts of animals—from bugs to fish to mythical creatures—have gained popularity in the last few years.“Jellyfish are excellent candidates because they are very efficient swimmers,” Engeberg said.Their umbrella-shaped bodies pulsate, producing a combination of vortex, jet propulsion, rowing, and suction-based locomotion.To harness this maneuverability, researchers replicated the shape of a moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) during its larvae stage. They also used water to inflate soft hydraulic network actuators, in hopes of preventing inadvertent damage.Two impeller pumps inflate the machine’s eight tentacles, opening a circuit for water flow, and allowing the jelly-bot to essentially swim and steer. The elasticity of the tentacle actuator silicon rubber material pushes water back out during the “relaxation phase.”Unlike other configurations that use various propulsion mechanisms, FAU’s design eliminates the need for valves, which reduces control complexity, space requirements, and, perhaps most importantly, cost.The team 3D printed five robot jellyfish, each with a different level of actuator silicon hardness to test the effects on propulsion efficiency. They also evaluated the robot’s ability to squeeze through narrow openings, using circular holes cut in a plexiglass plate.“We found the robots were able to swim through openings narrower than the nominal diameter of the robot,” Engeberg said.“In the future, we plan to incorporate environmental sensors like sonar into the robot’s control algorithm, along with a navigational algorithm,” he added. “This will enable it to find gaps and determine if it can swim through them.”Their findings were published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.Scientists finally captured one of the ocean’s most mysterious jellyfish on film. And Harvard researchers built an origami-inspired device that gently traps and releases sea creatures. Read more about robotics here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.