There's a starfish killing robot on the Great Barrier Reef

Rebecca Reid@RebeccaCNReid
Thursday 07 January 2016 16:10
Science and Tech

The Great Barrier Reef has finally got the hero it needs. A robot.

Between climate change, unsustainable fishing and pollution, the reef has had a rough time of it. Which is why researchers have developed an AI that seeks out and kills one of the biggest threats to corals.

The AI is on a killing spree for a starfish known as the Crown of Thorns starfish, a creature which cheerfully munches through the endangered species.

They've named the robot COTSbot. It's got pretty much everything you'd want an underwater starfish killing robot to have: cameras, thrusters, an injection arm, sensors and extendable arms.

Previous efforts at saving the reef had involved divers giving starfish lethal injections, like a sort of starfish Dignitas, but the project was hampered by the size of the reef. Co-researcher Matthew Dunbabin explained the issue, saying:

There just aren’t enough divers to cover all the COTS hotspots across the Great Barrier Reef.

The robot was trained in a lab and has a 99.4% accuracy rate for recognising starfish, even able to detect a fake 3D printed replica.

Reports that the robot will be appearing in the next Avengers film are as yet unconfirmed.

H/T Quartz

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