Jellyfish Robots For Ocean Clean up
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 30 April 2023

Jellyfish-Bot can trap objects underneath its body without physical contact, thereby enabling safe interactions in delicate environments such as coral reefs and could become an important tool for removing waste from the oceans.

Robots are already deployed for cleanup operations. However existing underwater robots are mostly bulky with rigid bodies, making them unsuitable for fragile environments and are noisy due to electrical motors or hydraulic pumps which disturbs fish and other marine life.

To find a more suitable design scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart looked to nature for inspiration and have configured a jellyfish-inspired, versatile, energy-efficient and nearly noise-free robot the size of a hand.

jelly robot

Tianlu Wang, a postdoc in the Physical Intelligence Department at MPI-IS and first author of an article that appeared in Science Advances this month explains the advantages of Jellyfish-Bot

"When a jellyfish swims upwards, it can trap objects along its path as it creates currents around its body. In this way, it can also collect nutrients. Our robot, too, circulates the water around it. This function is useful in collecting objects such as waste particles. It can then transport the litter to the surface, where it can later be recycled. It is also able to collect fragile biological samples such as fish eggs. Meanwhile, there is no negative impact on the surrounding environment. The interaction with aquatic species is gentle and nearly noise-free."

As the video demonstrates, Jellyfish-Bots are capable of moving and trapping objects without physical contact, operating either alone or with several in combination. For example, two robots are shown picking up a face mask.

Each robot works faster than other comparable inventions, reaching a speed of up to 6.1 cm/s and they only requires a low input power of around 100 mW. At the moment wires are used to power the robot but the aim is to develop wireless bots suitable for use in the oceans. The noise from the robot cannot be distinguished from background levels so that Jellyfish-Bot interacts gently with its environment without disturbing it, much like its natural counterpart.

jelly robotsq

More Information

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 April 2023 )