NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An eel undulating through coastal waters, powered by batteries and checking for mines. A jellyfish is actually a surveillance robot, powered by the atoms around it. Fins pick up intelligence while propelling a robot bluegill sunfish.
The Office of Naval Research is supporting baby steps toward making those visions of the future a reality. For instance, the jellyfish work in Texas and Virginia is focused on how the creatures move in water, and how to mimic or even surpass their abilities.
Propellers and jets leave trails that can light up radar and sonar screens. Researchers say robots modeled after water creatures could be both more efficient and harder to detect.