A team of scientists from Korea have invented something that every eight-year-old kid would surely love to have on his Christmas list -- a Jellyfish shredding robot that obliterates nearly a tonne of the slippery stingers per hour.
Professor Hyeon Myeong and his team from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has just completed field tests of the system called JEROS (short for Jellyfish Eradication Robotic Swarm) in the hope that their invention will help to fight ever-increasing global jellyfish numbers.
JEROS works by using an unmanned cohort of three floating robots that are governed by a leader unit. The leader robot is programmed with a predetermined path, guided by a GPS receiver and an internal navigation system, and as it buzzes off in search of some jelly to shred, it communicates with the other units and directs their movements according to its lead position. This automated system means that JEROS can go about its business without constant human control.
These jelly-executioners move through the water at roughly four knots, each floating on two cylindrical motor units that are mounted by the crucial shredding-unit submersed in the water. Its propulsion forces the jellyfish in between the floating cylinders before suctioning them down through a shredding-propeller and exhausting the resulting goo into the ocean.
Prof. Myeong and his team aren't shredding jellyfish for the fun of it. The problems caused by the gelatinous foes cost millions for large businesses -- such as the Swedish power plant that had to shut down all operations because their pipes became clogged with thousands of Moon Jellyfish -- and ruin many a holiday-makers vacation by being doused in warm urine after a sting (for the record, urine does not help a jellyfish sting).
The jellyfish problem also affects UK waters. The Marine Conservation Society warned earlier this year that ballooning numbers were being found off our coastlines. Whether the increase is due to the lack of predators, warmer breeding waters or is simply part of a larger cyclical trend is undeterminable, but what is for sure is that we can now rest safely at night in the knowledge that JEROS is out there blending down Jellyfish into a big salty ocean goo-smoothie.