Today in rad spy robot news, researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Texas at Dallas have created a self-powered robotic jellyfish, dubbed Robojelly. That name is by far the least creative part of this project.
A robotic spy jellyfish is only worth using if it doesn’t totally muck up the environment. Robojelly meets that requirement with flying colors. Rather than being battery powered, it is propelled by naturally occuring hydrogen and oxygen gases found underwater. The “head” is made of silicone, while the artificial muscles are made of a nickel-titanium alloy covered in carbon nanotubes, which is then covered in platinum. When those hydrogen and oxygen gases hit the platinum, they cause a reaction that results in contraction of those artificial muscles – hence, movement. The only waste products from the reaction? Heat and water vapor. Fortunately, Robojelly is probably a bit small to do much harm by way of thermal pollution.
Soon enough, the United States government could have its own legion of Robojelly spies – as if jellyfish weren’t trustworthy enough before.