William, I had a moment's hesitation when I was reading about the robot grinding up jellyfish--aside from the "eew" factor, there was the "yikes it's killing an animal" factor. But I think you're right--they've been around for something like 700 million years, so they're a very successful life form since their enemies don't seem to be doing a very good job of wiping them out.
If you have a pool in your backyard you could be using a robotic pool cleaner to keep it neat and tidy - a sort of underwater Roomba. They operate autonomously, usually dragging a power cable behind them, and despite appearing simple, they run sophisticated software to keep them out of trouble and help them get around.
Ann, I think that I came across an obscure and not very detailed reference to that jellyfish killer a while back, but never heard any more about it. That would indeed be an interesting thing to read about, especially how it senses that it has found a jellyfish. Those are probably one of the few creatures that nobody would ever choose to defend, at least I would not offer any complaint about a machine that ate those nasty pests.
I agree, I don't think jellyfish speak ZigBee, Chuck. Their natural predators according to Wikipedia are other jellyfish, as well as "tuna, shark, swordfish, sea turtles, and at least one species of Pacific salmon." Salmon? Weird.
I think it's interesting to note that the jellyfish killers communicate with each other over Zigbee. I'm not sure what the jellyfish's mortal enemy is in nature, but I'm pretty sure that it doesn't know the Zigbee protocol.
I thought it was interesting that I didn't find a lot of new robots based on biomimetics, like fish, jellyfish, octopus or turtles. But there's been a lot of activity in ROVs, especially personal, low-end designs. I think the most unique one is the Korean jellyfish killer.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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