Swarms of jellies are of growing concern in South Korea. These robots are taking care of the problem with extreme prejudice.
According to the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the growing population of jellyfish is causing great harm to the fishing industry. Accidents and fishing losses are adding up to over 300 billion won per year, or roughly 27 billion dollars.
JAROS patrolling in formation. Image Source: KAIST
In an effort to fend off swarms of jelly marauders, KAIST has developed autonomous jelly shredding robots. These robots, called JEROS, are floating platforms that can funnel the jellies into their drive propeller, effectively shredding the jellies into so much mincemeat. Not only are they capable of destroying them, they are equipped with a vision system that can locate and target them.
A recent enhancement to the platoon of JAROS units is the ability to swim in formation, allowing for a more efficient mincing of dangerous intruders. KAIST notes that these developmental platforms also hold potential for other uses such as waste detection and removal as well as monitoring oil spills.
I applaud the effort to control the jellyfish population, but no protection seems to be offered against fish being vacuumed up. The website describes the guidance of the robots to populations of jellyfish, but nothing about preventing anything else from being killed. Maybe jellyfish just can't sense (hear?) the robots coming while fish are scared off by the motor noise?
This seems like a bad idea for the environment. It doesn't address the core issue: Overfishing has depleted the fish that fed on the jellyfish. There are so many things that could go wrong with this, such as releasing clouds of jellyfish spawn, or even just releasing nutrients that will feed algea or other jellies. Typical engineering solution to a problem for ecologists (and I'm saying this a typical engineer).
@davidashton I don't know about growing stuff back, but did you know if you cut a jellyfish in half you will always have two perfect halves? Of course how would you know you were actually cutting a blobby thing like that in half??
Just as an aside, I very rarely have anaesthetic when having teeth drilled. One dentist I had reckoned my nervous system was so rudimentary that I must be related to the earthworm and he reckoned if he cut me in half both halves would grow back. Which is a truly horrible thought.......
@Karen "...superpower" ... The jellyfish or me? In my case it's the old story.... where there's no sense there's no feeling :-) Fillings I'm fine without, it's just a minor discomfort. But root canal stuff and pulling 'em out I need something. So I don't think I'm superhuman....