A robot jellyfish named Cyro may be swimming in the ocean with you sometime in the future and chances are you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between the two.
Cyro is almost 6 feet long in diameter and weighs about 170 pounds. He has been equipped with a silicone head and eight motorized legs. His entire design is suppose to mimic the look, feel, and behavior of a jellyfish. Specifically a jellyfish called the Lion’s mane jellyfish. The Lion’s mane jelly is the perfect model for Cyro because these flesh colored jellies can grow up to 8 feet long in diameter and can have tentacles that trail for up to 120 feet (a great disguise for any potential exposed wires).
While real jellyfish are created by fertilized eggs hooking to ocean rocks and then growing, Cyro is being brought to life by engineers at Virginia Tech and is getting funded by a 5 million dollar grant made by the Office of Naval Research.
Cyro is still deep in development and his battery currently lasts just a mere 4 hours, but once completed researchers hope to let him loose to swim across the floor autonomously… but for what? That question contains multiple possibilities.
One possibility is that Cyro will be used as a spy robot for the Navy, creeping up on any unusual activity that might be going on in the depths of the ocean blue. Another possibility is that he will be used for research purposes, exploring places and examining creatures in a way that was previously unavailable to scientists.
Cyro’s future is still unclear, but one thing is certain… this technology is not new and Cyro is not the only animal-like robot being created. For example, the US Air Force is looking into the possibility of creating small spy drones that look like birds and small insects such as dragonflies. So in the future next time you see a bird or a fish, you might have to question if it actually is just that.