Robots are much more than machines that ease our work. The latest addition to the entertainment/productivity cadre from the robotic world is the RoboJelly 2.0. This version features a self driving system that generates its own energy from hydrogen. Hydrogen is made available from the water in which it is swimming and that makes it a jaw dropping innovation.
Previous versions of robojellies needed electricity to function. By the by, RoboJelly is the nickname for a project under development by the University of Texas at Dallas and Alex Villanueva at Virginia Tech for the Office of Naval Research.
The latest RoboJelly comprises two silicone-based bell-like structures, which can be folded like an umbrella. Artificial muscles made of high-tech materials connect these umbrella-like structures.
These muscles are produced by wrapping carbon nanotubes over a nickel-titanium alloy, followed by a platinum coating. The structure is then placed in a pipe. When the hydrogen-oxygen mixture contacts the platinum, water vapor and heat are generated.
The generated heat makes the muscles to contract, which in turn moves the device by pumping out water and repeating the above mentioned cycle yield life like movements.
For people who might be thinking the purpose of mimicking jelly fish artificially, the research team has an answer for that too.
Robojellies do have a practical application. They are relatively cheap to produce and can be outfitted with sensors that can detect pollution levels in different parts of the ocean and send that information back to a receiving station.