robots and jellyfish

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Inspiration for the Robotic Jellyfish

In 2012, a team of three Virginia Tech College engineering researchers unveiled a massive robotic jellyfish that they hope will one-day patrol oceans (\"Virginia Tech researchers unveil large robotic jellyfish that one day could patrol oceans\", 2017). Cyanea capillata is the scientific term for the organism used in this biomimicry, and its common name is Jellyfish. This organism is a soft-bodied free-swimming creature with trailing tentacles and a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell. The pulsating effect of the bell provides locomotion and propulsion for jellyfish. To protect itself from predators, it uses its long tentacles to trap prey and release poisons in the form of a painful sting. Jellyfish lives in every ocean, and often they are common along coastal zones naturally occurring from the surface to the deep sea. The life cycle of Jellyfish occurs in multiple phases beginning when the sperm fertilized the egg, and consequently, it transitions through four stages into adult medusae.

Mimicking the Jellyfish's Movement

Jellyfish's soothing movement and mesmerizing forms through the use of its trailing tentacles are the most important adaptive features that inspired the creation of the robotic design. The tentacles enable the organism to become an efficient swimmer by radially contracting and expanding their bell-shaped forms to push water behind them (\"Virginia Tech researchers unveil large robotic jellyfish that one day could patrol oceans\", 2017). During the process of expansion and contraction jellyfish undergo periodic pause that helps the organism create two vortex rings which facilitate its movement in water.

Applications of the Robotic Jellyfish

Based on this adaptation of jellyfish, the robotic jellyfish was developed to mimic the organism as an autonomous and self-powering machine that could be used to surveil deep waters for purposes of mapping ocean floors, monitoring ocean currents and studying aquatic life. Besides the use of jellyfish adaptive features to develop the robotic machine, the colorful jellyfish form can also be used in designing different works of art.


Virginia Tech researchers unveil large robotic jellyfish that one day could patrol oceans. (2017). Retrieved 17 May 2017, from

January 05, 2023


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Engineering Research Ocean

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