Developing biohybrid robotic jellyfish (aurelia aurita) for free-swimming tests in the laboratory and in the field
Biohybrid robotics is a growing field that incorporates both live tissues and engineered materials to build robots that address current limitations in robots, including high power consumption and low damage tolerance. One approach is to use microelectronics to enhance whole organisms, which has previously been achieved to control the locomotion of insects. However, the robotic control of jellyfish swimming offers additional advantages, with the potential to become a new ocean monitoring tool in conjunction with existing technologies. Here, we delineate protocols to build a self-contained swim controller using commercially available microelectronics, embed the device into live jellyfish, and calculate vertical swimming speeds in both laboratory conditions and coastal waters. Using these methods, we previously demonstrated enhanced swimming speeds up to threefold, compared to natural jellyfish swimming, in laboratory and in situ experiments. These results offered insights into both designing low-power robots and probing the structure-function of basal organisms. Future iterations of these biohybrid robotic jellyfish could be used for practical applications in ocean monitoring.
Xu, N., Townsend, J., Costello, J., Colin, S., Gemmell, B., & Dabiri, J. (2021). Developing biohybrid robotic jellyfish (aurelia aurita) for free-swimming tests in the laboratory and in the field. Bio-protocol, 11 (7) https://doi.org/10.21769/BioProtoc.3974