Called Cyro, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering is developing a 5 foot 7 inches robot jellyfish for military surveillance. The project began last year after the Office of Naval Research poured a 5-year grant into the development of an autonomous robot jellyfish.
‘Robojelly’ was the first version of the robotic jellyfish released last year, roughly the same diameter as a man’s hand. Cyro weighs in at 170 lbs and its core components are encased within a waterproof shell. The waterproof shell resembles a traditional jellyfish, complete with eight functioning arms. The arms together with a white silicone drape act as the propulsion system for the jellyfish helping it mimic the movement of a real jellyfish.
The design is said to still need a lot of work as well as the battery power to enable Cyro to be completely autonomous. Cyro is currently powered by a nickel metal hydride on-board battery which offers it only 4 hours of autonomy. The research team has 3 years worth of grant money left to address this issue and make the necessary adjustments needed to transform Cyro into an actual autonomous unit.
Cyro’s role will not be restricted to surveillance and it could be loaded with sensors making it a water-based research device. It could also be equipped to help with oil spill clean ups.