Seen here looking suspiciously like a toilet plunger with no stick, a robotic jellyfish developed by Virginia Tech (not again!) and the University of Texas at Dallas plots its next stinging of an unsuspecting beach goer. "Hey GW -- if you get stung I'd pee on it for you." I know you would. "We should practice." No, we shouldn't.
The "Robojelly" mimic the movement of jellyfish, using a combination of oxygen and hydrogen gases to contract its "muscles," or "nano-platinum catalyst-coated multi-wall carbon nanotube sheets, wrapped on the surface of nickel--titanium shape memory alloy," according to an abstract published in the April issue of Smart Materials and Structures.
"To our knowledge, this is the first successful powering of an underwater robot using external hydrogen as a fuel source," Yonas Tadesse, one of the projects lead researchers, told the BBC.
The concept is that the jellyfish will be able to power itself indefinitely by drawing hydrogen from the water, and will be used in reconnaissance/search-and-rescue missions. Oooooooor taking pictures of mermaids changing out of their seashells.
Hit the jump for a brief video of the thing swimming.
Thanks to Mr. Fancy and LupusYonderboy, who agree robotic jellyfish have nothing on robotic jellybeans. Aaaaaaah, they're in my stomach poking holes in it!