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Autonomous Robotic Jellyfish Could Patrol the Seas

Virginia Tech researchers have introduced an autonomous robotic jellyfish the size and weight of a grown man - 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighing 170 pounds - as part of a U.S. Navy-funded project.

This prototype robot is nicknamed Cyro, and is a larger version of a robotic jellyfish named RoboJelly that was introduced in 2012. This has been a team effort, with University of Texas at Dallas handling nanotechnology-based actuators and sensors, Providence College handling biological studies, UCLA handling electrostatic and optical sensing/controls, and Stanford University overseeing chemical and pressure sensing. Virginia Tech has focused on building the jellyfish body models, integrating fluid mechanics, and developing control systems.

In the future, a robot jellyfish's job could include conducting military surveillance, cleaning oil spills, or monitoring the environment.