There are plenty of bio-inspired robots around these days. In most cases, they can’t outdo their natural counterparts. Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and Temple University have developed soft robots that can outswim real jellyfish. They are made with two bonded layers of elastic polymer, with one layer pre-stressed or stretched.
As the researchers explain:
As the jellyfish-bot “relaxes,” the dome curves up, like a shallow bowl. When air is pumped into the channel layer, the dome quickly curves down, pushing out water and propelling itself forward. In experimental testing, the jellyfish-bot had an average speed of 53.3 millimeters per second.