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Virginia Tech researchers publish study on jellyfish energy consumption that will improve bio-inspired robotic designs for Navy
Date:10/19/2013

on movement into the robotic jellyfish, thereby designing a vehicle that uses the least amount of battery power to go a greater distance. For now the research will translate that information only to the smaller robotic jellyfish that Priya's team has built. These robotic vehicles are roughly smaller than a man's outstretched hand, but vary in shape from a mushroom bell to a compact lamp and lamp shade.

"Jellyfish are attractive candidates to mimic because of their ability to consume little energy owing to a lower metabolic rate than other marine species, survivability in varying water conditions, and possession of adequate shape for carrying a payload," Priya said in 2012 when several of the smaller robotic jellyfish were unveiled. "They inhabit every major oceanic area of the world and are capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures and in fresh and salt waters. Most species are found in shallow coastal waters, but some have been found in depths 7,000 meters below sea level."

Virginia Tech also has unveiled a life-like, prototype autonomous robotic jellyfish nicknamed Cyro that is 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighs170 pounds, as part of the larger Office of Naval Research project. It is not known yet, however, if the same energy efficiency in swimming exists in the larger jellyfish as it does in smaller species. The problem lies in the size of the jellyfish itself. "You can't bring it into the lab in a water tank," said Priya, adding that getting high-speed film of the larger jellyfish in a swimming pool or the ocean environment also is difficult.

The team likely may take the computer modeling from the smaller jellyfish studies and extrapolate the findings to the larger model, said Tafti.


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Contact: Steven Mackay
smackay@vt.edu
540-231-4787
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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