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Jellyfish robot ready for action next April

As large numbers of poisonous jellyfish plague the country’s coasts, dealing damage to fishermen and holidaymakers, a team of researchers at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has come up with a robot for the efficient destruction of the creatures.

On Aug. 20, a KAIST team led by professor Myeong Hyun announced that it has developed the robot JEROS for catching and destroying jellyfish.

The robot is equipped with cameras and global positioning system or GPS equipment that allows it to locate jellyfish swarms.
Jellyfish destroying robot developed by a team at KAIST. (Yonhap News)
Jellyfish destroying robot developed by a team at KAIST. (Yonhap News)

Once a swarm is located, the JEROS collects the jellyfish in net where a specially designed propeller is used to shred the organisms.

According to the developers, one JEROS robot is capable of handling 400 kilograms of jellyfish in one hour.

In addition to destroying jellyfish, the JEROS can be applied to military and marine environment monitoring uses, the team said.

The team began developing the robot in April 2010, and has now completed tests. The team expects the JEROS to be ready for commercialization in April 2013 after minor modifications are completed.

However, with dead or even fragments of jellyfish retaining the ability to sting, experts say that using the robot in shallow waters in close proximity of the coast would not be advisable.

“Jellyfish parts can still sting, and if say a Nomura’s jellyfish was cut into small parts in areas where the current could take the bits to beaches, a large number of people could get stung,” Yoon Won-duk of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute said.

“Even on a small scale, a jellyfish should only be taken apart on land to avoid parts floating away.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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