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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

These jellyfish-killing robots could save the fishing industry billions per year

It’s a system called JEROS, or “jellyfish elimination robotic swarm”.

Image: hodgers

EXPERTS HAVE WARNED the ocean’s jellyfish population is getting out of control, and this has caused problems for a variety of people and organizations.

People might get stung while at the beach, sure, but there are larger repercussions too — the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in southeastern Sweden had to close after jellyfish clogged its pipework, and hordes of murderous jellyfish have cost the fishing industry billions of dollars in lost earnings per year.

Enter robots.

South Korean scientist Hyun Mong, director of the Urban Robotics Lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, has designed a robotic system called “JEROS,” short for “jellyfish elimination robotic swarm”.

JEROS is designed so teams of three can work together to collectively reduce the jellyfish population.

By tracking jellyfish and sucking them into their deadly propellers, each JEROS robot can shred just shy of one ton’s worth of jellyfish per hour.

This system is surprisingly more affordable than trapping the creatures in a net.

Here’s a fleet of three JEROS systems at work in a bay.

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Source: urobotkaist via YouTube

They spot the jellyfish in the water by using image processing in their onboard cameras.

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Source: urobotkaist via YouTube

Once jellyfish are properly targeted, the JEROS propeller spins to life and kills them.


Here it is in action, but be warned, if you have a soft-spot for jellyfish, you may find the video disturbing.

- Dylan Love

Read: Jellyfish are freaks of nature that could take over the world’s oceans >

More: Glow-in-the-dark ice cream made possible with jellyfish protein >

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