Autonomous Underwater Vehicles help drill for oil, monitor weather patterns and search oceans for new discoveries...why not build one that can repair a coral reef? This Kickstarter
program wants to do just that.
Their idea is to replace volunteer scuba divers with robots.
"We can speed up the process by using scuba divers that re-attach healthy pieces of coral back onto the reef. But this is very time consuming and mostly conducted by volunteers. Also, this method cannot be used to repair reefs in deeper waters because of depth limits to humans diving. Coral-bots are a team of robots that intelligently navigate across a damaged coral reef, transplanting pieces of healthy corals along the way. The big job of developing and testing the robots at sea has already been done. All that remains is to embed the robots with computer vision to “see” healthy bits of coral, and configure appropriate manipulator arms for each robot to pick up and put down the pieces in the right spots."
I am not entirely sold on the idea that a robot, given our current technology, would be faster than a human. But I do agree that a "coral-bot" would prove useful in deep water or a remote location where volunteer divers are hard to come by. I am pleased to see any organization that is using technology to help improve our environment.
So next time you’re out scuba diving you just might see a coral-bot on the reef helping to repair what other humans damaged.