Researchers are building a killer robot Electrocutes Lionfish to save the ecosystem
To cull invasive species, researchers at Robots In Service of the Environment (RISE) are developing a robot to fight an invasive population of Lionfish that’s threatening ecosystems off the coast of Florida as well as in Caribbean and Bermuda.
“Lionfish populations are increasing in non-native waters at a disproportionate rate,” said Lucy Woodall, from the University of Oxford, who coordinates activities of the ocean research charity Nekton, which is now testing the lionfish-killing robot in the Atlantic.
He added, “Lionfish devour the small fish leaving nothing for the other marine animals to feed on.”
The lionfish killer robot, is operated via a video link. When the operator spots the voracious creature, he or she navigates the robot towards it. The robot embraces the lionfish with its metallic paddles and delivers a fatal electric shock. It is how the system works. This idea came to RISE founder and iRobot CEO Colin Angle after witnessing the issue first-hand in Bermuda.
The concept is still in its early stages, but the team has been testing a prototype arm in reef waters to make sure the robot doesn’t scare the fish off before it has a chance to zap them.