04/01/2013 11:47 am ET Updated Apr 04, 2013

Robotic Jellyfish 'Cyro' Unveiled By Virginia Tech

We've seen a slew of robotic animals in the past year or so -- robotic cockroaches, robotic tunafish, robotic dragonflies. And now, thanks to Virginia Tech, we've got two robotic jellyfish.

On May 29 of last year, Virginia Tech engineers unveiled "Robojelly," a robotic jellyfish "roughly the size of a man's hand." And last week, the same group of engineers revealed their second jelly named "Cyro," who is 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds.

The U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research are funding the robotic jellyfish. According to a press release, the aim of the project "is to place self-powering, autonomous machines in waters for the purposes of surveillance and monitoring the environment, in addition to other uses such as studying aquatic life, mapping ocean floors, and monitoring ocean currents."

Surveilling the undersea could help in places like Egypt, where a ship recently damaged an undersea Internet cable, causing the country's Internet to slow down. The problem was compounded last week when the Egyptian army caught saboteurs trying to cut another undersea Internet cable. Self-powered robojellies could spot such menaces -- and could also identify pollutants and help with cleanups after oil spills such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

And hey -- unlike robot cockroaches, the robotic jellyfish sure are pretty.

CORRECTION: This article's previous headline was "Robotic Jellyfish 'Cyro' Unveiled By University Of Virginia." The jellyfish was actually created by Virginia Tech. The Huffington Post regrets this error.



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