Coral reefs are now being studied more accurately thanks to small jellyfish-like robots. Made of soft rubber and produced in the engineering department at Florida Atlantic University, these robots are used to research and track how coral reefs respond to warming waters in relation to climate change.
Designed to measure temperature and salinity including additional data about the underwater environment, the robot-jellyfish are battery powered and have eight tentacles that conduct and drive out seawater that set it in motion, making it look very similar to a real jellyfish. Unlike similar underwater drones which have noisy propellers, these robot-jellyfish can quietly operate along the reef’s fragile structures without causing any damage or disturbing cohabiting marine life.
These autonomous robots can also help to keep divers from dangerous underwater environments by monitoring rapidly changing sea conditions in sample areas. As of now, the collected data must be recovered onboard, however, later versions of the robots are expected to transmit data wirelessly before deployment into the wild is scheduled.