The world has too many jellyfish, and not enough robots.

So let's build robots to defeat the jellyfish.

That's essentially the thinking behind a new plan to deploy swams of autonomous robots in the ocean and kill jellyfish, in order to preserve the safe operation of nuclear power plants.

CNN reports that jellyfish are increasingly clogging and incapacitating plants around the world by inhabiting cooling-water intake lines.

A plant in Sweden was shut down for this reason earlier this week, and more similar incidents have been seen around the world. Other attacks by the gelatinous menace have been seen in the United States, Japan, Israel and even Scotland. In South Korea alone the cost of the problem is estimated to be $300 million in damages.

Now IEES Spectrum reports that the fightback is getting serious. Scientists at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have built a robotic solution known as the Jellyfish Elimination Robotic Swarm. The robots operate autonomously, without human control, and use cameras to find jellyfish near the surface before teaming up to float around them in formation.

And then? Unfortunately for the jellyfish, they shred them. The robots use a mulching system which can "process" 900 kilograms of jellyfish per hour - or about 6,000 individual jellyfish.

The team is now planning further tests to see if they can add more units to the swarm, and develop a commercial plan for the horrifying, but probably necessary, devices.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Meet Jules, the newest and most realistic humanoid robot yet from David Hanson and the team at Hanson Robotics.

  • A robot that looks just like its creator (www.newscientist.com).

  • Engineers at Kagawa University in Japan are developing a talking robotic version of the human mouth: To enable the robot's speaking abilities, engineers at Japan's Kagawa University used an air pump, artificial vocal chords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone attached to a sound analyzer as substitutes for human vocal organs.

  • ACTROID-F in AIST Open Lab 2010.

  • Robot modeled after Albert Einstein. Einstein mimics the facial expressions he detects in others. Smile at him, and he'll smile back.

  • Cybernetic human dance demo in DCEXPO, 2010.

  • Humanoid face created by Hanson Robotics (www.hansonrobotics.com). Robotics scientists at Hanson previously created animatronic puppets for Disney studios.

  • Animatronic baby mechanism for anonymous TV series. Built by Chris Clarke for CNFX Workshop.

  • Taiwanese Kissing Robots (NTUST Robot) were exhibited in AutoRob2009 in Gwangju, Korea. They were developed by Prof. Chyi-Yeu Lin's research team in National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

  • Robot girl with silicone skin.