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Robotic jellyfish can suck up ocean debris without touching it

Due to their unique way of moving through the water, jellyfish are frequently used as inspiration for soft, water-based robots. Now, researchers have discovered that the flapping propulsion system of a robotic jellyfish is not only good for movement, but it can also draw small bits of debris up from the ocean floor without any contact. Such a robot could be useful for removing trash from delicate ocean environments, like coral reefs.

The new robots, invented by scientists at the Max Planck Institute For Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS), are about the size of a hand and consist of a series of six actuators filled with artificial muscles known as HASELs. These muscles are basically oil-filled sacs covered by electrodes.

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