Bioinspired Robojelly Powered by Water
Virginia Tech engineers have designed a robotic underwater system that looks and moves like its living counterpart. Best of all, it could eventually require no external energy, as it achieves power by a reaction between smart metal alloys and gaseous hydrogen and oxygen. IO9 explains:
The Robojelly needed muscles, so researchers used platinum-covered carbon nanotubes to cover the shape memory sheets. When hydrogen and oxygen gases in the water made contact with the platinum — which is in the form of black powder — they create a reaction that gives off heat. This causes the nickel-titanium alloy to contract. And since hydrogen and oxygen are in seawater, these jellies could roam the oceans indefinitely, with possible future tinkering.
When researchers eventually do reach higher efficiencies, it could prove itself a powerful tool for everything from ocean data collection to military reconnaissance. I, for one, welcome our robojelly overlords.