A team of researchers have launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to get robots to repair coral reef ecosystems (they have called the robots “coralbots”) around the world using a technology called swarm intelligence. Swarm intelligence details the simple behaviors in a group of animals that form complex structures to achieve a common goal, such as with bees building hives or how beavers build dams.
The team, comprised of Lea-Anne Henry (expert in coral biology), David Lane (runs the Ocean Systems Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh in England), Dick Blidberg (Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute in New Hampshire), David Corne (swarm intelligence), and Neil Robertson (will give the coral robots the capability to distinguish coral), is hoping to raise $107,000 toward this effort on Kickstarter.
If their goal is reached, the funds will help the researchers to embed the coralbots with the computer vision to see healthy corals and to program and configure the arms of the coralbots to effectively place coral frags in locations on the reef that need to be replenished with coral. The funds will enable them to acquire the kit required to perform this task and allow the team to conduct their first live demonstration at a public aquarium in England.