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Are Killer Robots the Only Defense Against Lionfish?

lionfish killer robots
Photo from: RISE at http://robotsise.com

Terminator is back. But this time, he’s taking the form of a killer robot in search of lionfish!

CNN reported that killer robots may be the new line of defense against the invasive and extremely destructive lionfish population.

Since the 1980s, United States waters have been struggling to battle this invasive species. The nightmare of a fish inhabits the waters as far north as Rhode Island, down the Atlantic Coast, and all the way to Venezuela.

Many efforts to eradicate the population have been unsuccessful, leaving researchers and experts no other option but to search out better, more aggressive methods. This is where the robots come in.

Here’s a short video to tell you all about them.

During a diving trip to Bermuda, iRobot CEO Colin Angle was propositioned to develop a machine that would effectively kill the fish. Upon receiving offers for funding, he drafted a proposal that is now called “Robots in Service of the Environment (RISE).”

The robot is designed to be a remotely operative vehicle. Believe it or not, the robot will use the technology that iRobot had created to be used inside a vacuum cleaner, allowing the device to simply be tethered to the operator and dropped into the water.

“You drive the ROV until you see the fish. A lot of the technology is in the cameras. Then, you drive the ROV onto the fish and press the trigger, ” says John Rizzi, executive director at RISE.

According to recent tests, the fish are not afraid of the electrodes being lined up alongside them. Once the fish is shocked, it is returned to the operator. Then rinse, lather and repeat.

The prototypes are being tested to see how many fish they can kill. Other specs, like power requirements, depth, and variations are also being explored. iRobot expects to have all trials completed by next year.

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Are Killer Robots the Only Defense Against Lionfish?