Last September an IUCN report predicted the disappearance of 70% of coral reefs by 2030 due to pollution, high temperature, sea acidification and overfishing. It’s an urgent and alarming issue for marine biologists. To help address coral losses, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is designing marine robots able to rebuild the reef.

The robot is called, appropriately, Coral-bot. Its job is to look for pieces of living coral fallen on the sea bottom and attaching them again to the reef.

The Coral-bot works like a swarm with other autonomous underwater drones. David Corne, a scientist at Heriot-Watt's Intelligent Systems Group explains: “This project explores one of the most intriguing and impressive feats of natural 'swarm intelligence', whereby collections of simple-minded individuals collaborate to construct complex and functional structures.”

A Kickstarter campaign has been launching to raise $ 107,000 to support the project. Need an incentive? A $25 contribution will get your name printed on a Coral-bot, while a donation of $1000 will get your name engraved on a stone that will become part of the first rebuilt reef structure, expected for October 2014.

Source Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Heriot-Watt University

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  • The coralbots project is fundraising on indiegogo now! Despite 853 backers on kickstarter, we missed target and so get zero funds from there. On Indiegogo we are now able to start the project since it is not 'all or nothing'. Also please see

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