QUT roboticists develop world first robot to destroy starfish damaging Great Barrier Reef

Two Australian roboticists have developed a new underwater robot to tackle coral decline across the Great Barrier Reef caused by the crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). An estimated 40 per cent of coral decline across the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site has been attributed to the starfish. To help counter the impact of the species, Dr Matthew Dunbabin and Dr Feras Dayoub from the Queensland University of Technology developed COTSbot. The robot comprises stereoscopic cameras for depth perception, five thrusters for stability, GPS and pitch-and-roll sensors. An arm of compressed air that injects the harmful COTS with bile salts is what makes the robot unique. Computer vision and machine learning underpin the robot’s ability to identify the species among coral. The robot has been given thousands of still video images of COTS taken…


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