Robot meant to remove jellyfish might just be making more jellyfish
Watch out, jellyfish. JEROS, the jellyfish-destroying robot, is coming for you. Or possibly making more of you.
Developed by a team of engineers in Korea, JEROS is a robot designed for destroying jellyfish swarms, like the one that recently clogged the cooling pipes at a nuclear power plant in Sweden, temporarily shutting down the plant.
JEROS stands for Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm, and it uses a camera and GPS system to spot jellyfish swarms underwater and maneuver autonomously toward them. A net underneath the robot gathers the gelatinous creatures, and a special propeller attached to the robot pulverizes the netted jellies into a wispy jellyfish soup. (See the video above).
It was developed by professor Myung Hyun, at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. According to a release from the institution, JEROS is estimated to be three times more economical than physically gathering the jellyfish in nets and hauling them out of the water.
But unfortunately, said Robert Condon, a research scientist with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab who studies jellyfish, JEROS the jellyfish-destruction robot may actually create more jellyfish.
“Grinding up jellyfish is a quick fix if it is outside a nuclear power plant, but it doesn’t stop the jellyfish from reproducing,” he said. “What it probably does is enable more jellyfish to be in a single area.
While the grinder may kill the jellyfish, it is likely not a fine enough grind to destroy the jellyfish’s eggs and sperm, said Condon.
“Effectively you are mixing up all the egg and sperm in one spot and increasing the chance of them finding each other,” he said. “If it is designed to stop a bloom in a particular area, it won’t do that.”
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