Exploration 'Squidbot' Generates Jet Pulses for Rapid Locomotion

Engineers at UC San Diego  have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body, and can also carry a sensor like a camera for underwater exploration. The robot is made mostly from soft materials like acrylic polymer, with a few rigid 3D-printed and laser-cut parts. Using soft robots in underwater exploration is important to protect fish and coral, which could be damaged by more rigid bots. The squid robot has flexible ribs, which act like springs, along its sides. The ribs are connected to two circular plates at each end of the robot. One of them is connected to a nozzle that both takes in water and ejects it when the robot’s body contracts. The researchers demonstrated that the robot could steer by adjusting the direction of the nozzle.