Researchers Develop Unmanned Jellyfish Submarine for Navy


U.S. Navy-funded scientists have developed an unmanned seawater-powered submarine drone that the branch could use for spy missions, the Washington Times reports. 

Researchers at the Virginia Tech and University of Texas at Dallas created the Robojelly and published their findings with the Office of Naval Research in the Smart Materials and Structures academic journal. 

The foot-long sub-drone converts hydrogen and oxygen from the water it traverses into fuel, according to the Times. 

Robojelly is made up of two silicone bell-shaped structures the size of a fist.

The submarine can then contract and expand like an umbrella with the help of nanotechnology produced artificial muscles.

Dr. Yonas Tadesse, lead scientist for the project and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UT-Dallas, said Robojelly could remain underwater and refuel itself at the same time to conduct surveillance missions.

He said the system does not need batteries or electricity and its only waste is more water. 

The Office of Naval Research-sponsored project is not the only animal-inspired military technology.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is currently working on insect cyborgs.

Mechanical elements are inserted into larvae and then used them to control or direct the insects when they mature, the Times reported. 

The Defense Department research arm is additionally working on hummingbird drones developed through its Nano Air Vehicle program.

Those drones look like the bird and would be used to capture real-time video in unsafe or inaccessible areas for the military.  

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