Welcome to Coralbots!
The ocean is Earth's largest biome covering over 70% of the planet, but is also threatened by multiple stressors such as bottom fishing, marine pollution including litter and climate change. Coral reefs support the livelihoods of almost half a billion people (read more about it here); marine litter affects around half of all marine mammals and kills almost a million seabirds per year (read more about that here). These threats require our active and urgent intervention through habitat remediation and restoration to ensure global sustainability of human livelihoods and biodiversity. Addressing these tasks is time consuming, and habitat remediation or restoration can only be achieved in small patches for the moment. In the case of repairing damage to deep sea ecosystems these tasks are also too dangerous for direct human intervention.
The CoralBots collective is a team of marine scientists, computing (artificial intelligence) scientists and engineers committed to addressing these threats using novel state-of-the-art innovations in computing, marine biology, and undersea robotics that will revolutionize how we deal with these threats. Get to know our core team here. Our key idea is to combine autonomous underwater robotics with 'swarm intelligence'. Nature shows us how groups or swarms of organisms achieve complex things just by following simple rules e.g. bees, termites and wasps. We plan to deploy teams of autonomous underwater robots to restore and rebuild damaged coral reefs. Our first future mission will restore reefs damaged by hurricanes and ship groundings in Belize. In May 2013, we launched a project on www.indiegogo.com to help turn this into reality.
To donate to Coralbots, please go to this page:
If you choose 'Other' and then write Coralbots in the textbox that comes up, then your donation will go 100% to Coralbots, via the US Nonprofit (501(c)) that is run by Heriot-Watt University.
The start-up phase of Coralbots was supported by seed funding and efforts from numerous volunteer students and scientists. These projects explored initial (1) swarm 'micro-rules' that guide Coralbot behaviour, (2) computer vision capabilities, and (3) robot arm/gripper prototypes. As this site develops, we intend to keep it up to date with progress on all of our related projects.
A coral reef (courtesy of Lisa Carne)
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle