For several years, British researchers have been working on a soft underwater robot capable of adapting to vulnerable environments. By perfecting their innovation, scientists believe that it is now almost ready to evolve near coral reefs without damaging them.
An amazing propulsion system
Cyro is an underwater robot imitating the blue jellyfish and the squid. This inspiration is based on their rather soft structure, but also their way of moving in water. Researchers from the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh (UK) presented their promising new underwater exploration tool in an article published in the journal Scientific robotics January 20, 2021. The machine has a rubber head and eight tentacles from 3D printing. In addition, it uses a system based on natural resonance of the components in order to propel itself. For researchers, Cyro is the very first submersible robot demonstrating the benefits of this type of system.
Everything is played at the level of a piston whose mission is to strike at the junction of the head and the tentacles. A ideal typing frequency allows the robot to generate large jets of water, and therefore to propel itself forward with very little energy. According to scientists, Cyro would be ten to fifty times more efficient than the usual small propeller-driven underwater craft.
“Previous attempts to propel underwater robots with jet systems involved pushing water through a rigid tube, but we wanted to go deeper, so we brought the elasticity and resonance to mimic biology. I was really surprised with the results, I was convinced the design would work, but the efficiency of the robot was way above what I expected“Said Thierry Bujard, one of the study participants preparing for a master’s degree in naval architecture, in a statement.
Cyro could replace traditional swimmers and robots
Researchers believe that the Cyro robot is capable of evolving in sensitive environments and ecosystems. He could for example explore coral reefs and archaeological sites without damaging them. On this point, the flexible and flexible exterior of the robot obviously represents an undeniable advantage. Cyro could even replace the most experienced of swimmers to delicately explore this type of area. The robot can also replace the usual underwater vehicles which are not used in many cases for fear of degrading these places to be protected.
The Cyro robot has already been the subject of numerous tests in a basin. Note, however, the absence of experiments in real conditions. Researchers now want to assemble a complete underwater vehicle fully maneuverable and autonomous before launching it into the deep end.