“There are plenty of fish in the sea” is a popular American idiom used to encourage the lonely and heartbroken. But it is certainly not a statement of fact in the fishing waters of Korea. Over fishing has significantly diminished the fish populations in that region, as well as many others worldwide. And while the problem is a serious one, it is also rather difficult to solve. People need to eat, and in much of coastal Asia, fish is an enormous part of a balanced diet. But there is another problem related to the first that can be solved, and in a unique way at that. Over fishing results in an exponentially increased population of jellyfish. Jellyfish, when too numerous, cause many problems for fishermen and swimmers alike, and could further damage the ecosystem as well. So to combat this growing nuisance, Korean scientists have designed Jellyfish-Eating Robots and sent them into action.
These robots are entirely autonomous– they function on their own with nobody controlling them, and they are programmed to find, suck up, and shred jellyfish. They have detailed maps of the areas ingrained in their programming, and they remember the places they have already been in order to be more efficient. They “hunt” if you will, in packs of a few robots to improve the outcome, and are called the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm or JEROS. If a single JEROS robot did nothing but constantly catch jellyfish, it would be able to eliminate over two-thousand pounds per hour. I personally find it very interesting that humans as a species have the tendency to mess up an environment with our zeal and our numbers, then we come back years later and attempt to slap a band-aid on the damage we have caused with our technology. If this is always going to be the case, keep an eye out for robot trees.