The Underwater Hydrojetting System is a project developed in the Organic Robotics Laboratory by Dr. Robert Shepherd's team at Cornell University.
The team developing is led by Robert Shepherd, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. The project explores combustion potential in soft robotics.
The combustion chamber mimics the mantle of a squid, which inflates it rapidly and expels fluid in order to propel itself forward.
Hydrogen and oxygen gas is stored in the combustion chamber. Igniting the gas expands these internal chambers, alters the volume of the squid and thus propels it through the environment.
There are many applications to the successful development of this project, ranging from space exploration (many moons of Jupiter have liquid oceans and a soft robot would be very advantageous from mass and volume budget perspective).
More terrestrial applications of the soft robotics component of this research project include improvements to remotely operated underwater vehicles.
The bio-inspired technologies we propose to consider bypass the need to power rovers with limited-lifetime batteries, large solar arrays, or nuclear power. The rover also bypasses the difficulties of typical mechanisms in fluid through uniquely suited soft robotics. The expanding-gas locomotion concept is both exotic and eminently realizable, grounded in experimental work by our team.