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Jellyfish-Killing Robot is Helping Fishermen
The population of jellyfish is a worldwide threat to the fishing industry, to maritime power plants and even to people. Robots can now get rid of them.
By Judith Pfeffer - Filed Jun 25, 2014

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Jellyfish represent far more than just a personal hazard at the beach this summer. They're bigger, badder and more prevalent than ever before due to climate change, over-harvesting of their natural predators and other environmental factors.

Groups of jellyfish called blooms kill valuable sealife, close down power plants and wreak havoc in many other ways. According to Quartz, blooms have been known since 1950, got noticeably worse starting in 1982, and have "wiped out billions of dollars in earnings over the last few decades and are also a nightmare for fishermen, who must contend with bursted nets and clogged trawl lines. Japan's now-annual bloom of Nomura jellyfish, which each grow to be the size of large refrigerator, capsized and sank a 10-ton trawler when the fishermen tried to haul up a net full of them."

Now there’s a robot to take jellyfish out of the equation. The jellyfish elimination robotic swarm (JEROS) has been created by Hyun Myung, head of the Urban Robotics Lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Three robots work in concert using GPS, cameras, propellers and sharp blades to trap and eliminate jellyfish.

By tracking jellyfish, trapping them and sucking them into their deadly propellers, each JEROS robot can shred about a ton of jellyfish per hour.

According to the Daily Mail, Myung "started to think of a way to kill them in 2009, when the South Korean marine industry lost an estimated $300 million because of the creatures.

"During a test run, one system shredded 900kg of jellyfish in one hour, a sign that the killer robots could provide a way to combat the growing jellyfish population.

"The system, which is cheaper than trapping them in a net, would save millions for marine industries every year and could save lives."

Fast Company explains that "The team is planning to commercialize the robots by next year after tinkering with JEROS some more. They are also exploring other uses, such as patrolling or guarding waters, oil spill prevention, or marine debris removal. These killer robots could indeed help combat the growing plague of jellyfish (a child died on the beach in South Korea last year) and save governments money, too."


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