CoralBot: Coral Reef Mapping Drone

The Challenge: Coral Bleaching

Coral reefs are essential to healthy coasts and vibrant economies, playing a critical role in everything from protecting lives and property to supporting thousands of businesses. However, scientists have shown that at least 30% of coral reefs are already dead. 

The reefs are increasingly bleaching due to climate change, pollution and other destructive human activities. Without action to preserve these reefs and curb climate change, they estimate that 90% of them will die by 2050. Hong Kong is home to an impressive number of 84 species of corals and there is something we can help.

Our Solution

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To respond to the issue of coral bleaching, we need first to understand where the corals are located and what their condition is. A group of talented and enthusiastic professionals from the community were invited to share their ideas and contributing their skills to address this challenge.

Supported by Design Trust, we developed the CoralBot, an autonomous boat equipped with 5 cameras that can take 36,000 photos per hour. Artificial Intelligence came into the picture to label these photos and recognise different species of coral with sufficient training to the model. We could precisely establish the location of each species which will contribute to further analysis and study.

PROJECT SHOWCASES

Ocean Park Conservation Chill Club

In partnership with Ocean Park, the “Ocean Park Conservation Chill Club” programme was created to equip Hong Kong youth with AI technology and knowledge about coral diversity to help build the AI model for coral reef mapping of Hong Kong.

100 students and teachers from 30 secondary schools in Hong Kong joined our journey to participate in the building of the AI model for coral reef mapping.

In partnership with WWF Hong Kong, we organised a workshop in Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre to raise public awareness of the need for coral conservation as well as testing the CorolBot.

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Ms. Angie Zhou

Education Specialist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Angie Zhou is an Education Specialist at MIT App Inventor. She was the founder and CEO of Dreams Come True in Shenzhen, where she developed online coding courses for kids. She also has previous curriculum development, teaching and staff training experience at First Code Academy in Hong Kong.