Seeing past the jellyfish sting

Much-maligned jellies offer plenty of good to their ocean ecosystems

2:33pm, August 22, 2014

FREE FLOAT  The clear bell of a gelatinous hydrozoan is a floating home for a jelly-rider called a hyperiid amphipod. As homes to some creatures, dinner to others and more, jellyfish are an integral part of the oceans. 

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Robots that hunt down and exterminate jellyfish: Good or bad idea? Discuss.

A 2013 video from robotics designers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology shows three jelly-killer prototypes gliding as a metallic fleet over gently rippling water. An underwater video demonstrates the cunning plan. Pale jellyfish bells drift into view, and a blenderlike slicer whirs into action. Jellies explode in beige puffs as they are sucked into the spinning blades.

“This invention is fantastic,” commented Veronica Bingham on the IEEE Spectrum news website. “Jellyfish are a plague,” added commenter Soulshock.

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