Prototype jellyfish robot developed to record marine life

Indore: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore has developed a prototype version of a robot, which resembles a jellyfish, to capture the marine life through a camera attached to it.

Talking to PTI, head of IIT Indore’s Mechatronics and Instrumentation Laboratory, I A Palani, said the prototype robot, which weighs around 250 grams, has been developed after six months of research.

“This robot has been developed in such a way that it looks like a jellyfish, so that marine creatures find it natural and they can go close to it. Its camera can capture their activities,” he said, adding that a soft polymer has been used in its structure.

“A motor is used in the traditional robots developed for the study of marine life. This limits their functionality as aquatic creatures may get affected due to the sound of the motor. Hence, it may become difficult to capture the natural movement of marine creatures in the ocean,” Palani added.

“Considering this shortcoming of motor-driven robots, we used the wires of shape memory alloys (SMA). The SMA is a class of smart material that can recover from induced deformation and revert to its memorised shape on heating,” he said.

According to him, the continuous heating and cooling of the SMA wire-based polymer structure subjected to expansion and contraction of its body with tentacles which generate thrust to make the jellyfish robot to move in water.

However, the robot jellyfish is yet to be tested in the sea.

“We have successfully tested the jellyfish robot in the laboratory environment. It moved one centimeter per second during these tests. We are contacting the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to test it in real conditions,” he said.

Palani said an arrangement of battery was also made in the initial design of jellyfish robot.

However, solar panel can also be fitted as per the requirement in place of battery so that it can work for longer period.

The robot can be recharged with the help of sunlight by keeping it floated on the surface of the ocean.