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Massive jellyfish is actually an aquatic spy robot built by Virginia Tech

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 16:41:14-04

A team of engineers from Virginia Tech thinks this five-and-a-half-foot robot jellyfish could be the future of Navy underwater surveillance.

The autonomous robot has eight mechanical legs ringing its metal chassis, designed to mimic the underwater propulsion of a jellyfish, according to Danger Room.

Covered in silicone to replicate the jellyfish’s jelly, the Cyro weighs a staggering 170 pounds, all thanks to a five-year grant from the Office of Naval Research.

The robot is still a prototype, years away from being in the water. But it represents a new kind of testbed for oceanographic surveillance, the Cyro’s basic application. Like the bird- and insect-shaped drones the Air Force is developing, a jellyfish-like spybot has a natural stealth advantage. “Mimicking a natural animal found in a region allows you to explore a lot better,” says Alex Villanueva, a graduate student at Virginia Tech working on the Cyro.

And it’s also a launch-and-forget robot. There’s no remote controls on the Cyro. Place it into the water, and its roll-pitch-yaw sensor package, pressure sensors and software do the rest. That’s something for the Navy to think about as it considers designs for its forthcoming unmanned underwater vehicle fleet.

Read more at Danger Room.