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RSE Unveils Lionfish Guardian LF1, Mark 4 Robot with Visual Recognition System for AI Aided Precision Fishing at Amazon re:MARS
Las Vegas, NV., June 4, 2019 – RSE: Robots in Service of the Environment, a non-profit organization developing robotic technology to solve environmental problems, today announced the Guardian LF1, Mark 4 undersea robot with a Visual Recognition System to aid fishermen and tourists in the tracking and capture of lionfish in the Atlantic. Going deeper than ever before, the Guardian LF1, Mark 4 is the first Guardian prototype to deliver advancements in AI aided precision fishing.

The platform has successfully achieved original business goals of reaching depths up to 1000 feet and hitting a target cost price of less than $1000 USD, moving RSE even closer to a commercially available lionfish hunting robot.

With the suite of component systems featured in the Guardian LF1, Mark 4 remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the platform is specifically designed for rapid and easy lionfish capture while also creating a vast fleet of robots at a low cost.

Intended for use by fishermen, tourists, and environmentalists, future affordability and ease-of-use of the platform is essential to creating economic incentives for Guardian LF1 operators in reducing the lionfish population.

“In order to truly impact the lionfish population there will need to be thousands of robots in the water capturing the fish wherever they are. The affordable and easy to use Guardian LF1 will enable fishermen to profit, feeding the demand for lionfish while also reducing the devastating environmental impact of this invasive species,” said Erika Angle, RSE co-founder and Director of Education. “With AI aided precision fishing, the Guardian LF1 is an effective and easy to use solution to reduce the population of these indiscriminate and voracious predators invading the western Atlantic.”

The Guardian LF1, Mark 4 has been designed with a target of capturing 200 lionfish a day. The average weight of a single lionfish is 1.25 lbs. and can be sold for upwards of $7.99 a pound. On a successful day, an operator of an LF1 robot could earn around $1,500 to $2,000 a day on the sale of lionfish.

AI Aided Precision Fishing with Visual Recognition System
The Guardian LF1, Mark 4 is the first of its kind to introduce a Visual Recognition System of software and sensors which assists operators in navigation, maneuvering, tracking, and capturing lionfish especially in rough seas. The RSE team continues optimization of the software with cutting edge machine learning algorithms – training the algorithms with current ROV capture footage and will soon improve upon the accuracy with crowdsourced footage from operators in the future.

In addition to the revolutionary visual recognition software, an Optical Flow Visual Algorithm has been developed on the ROV. This Optical Flow Visual continues to improve through software optimization, closing in on near-perfect obstacle avoidance and automated ROV stability in rough waters for future autonomy.

Even Deeper Than Before
Operational improvements to the Guardian LF1, Mark 4, include a main electronics enclosure rated for 1150 feet. This allows the ROV to reach depths of 1000 ft, far below where sport divers can access. Equipped with both a battery and power over tether system, the Mark 4 can be continually deployed underwater, significantly increasing the amount of lionfish an operator can capture in a day.

RSE at re:MARS (June 4-7, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV
Erika Ebbel Angle, a RSE co-founder, will be a speaker at re:MARS, Amazon’s AI and robotics event taking place from June 4-7, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. At a Leadership Session on Wednesday, Erika will discuss the importance of leveraging robotic technology to reducing the devastating impact of this invasive species. The Guardian LF1, Mark 4 will be on display at re:MARS in the Tech Showcase where RSE will demonstrate AI aided precision fishing.

About RSE: Robots in Service of the Environment
Founded by roboticists, environmentalists and scientists, Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization focused on developing robot technology to solve environmental problems. Established in the fall of 2015, the non-profit’s first project is to develop an undersea robot to slow the destruction caused by the lionfish, an invasive species that is drastically reducing biodiversity and coral reef health in all warm waters of the western Atlantic. By combining technology development with mass manufacturing techniques, RSE offers a unique set of capabilities to solve some of the world's most challenging environmental problems on a massive scale.

RSE Social Media
For more information about RSE and our ongoing mission to solving large-scale environmental challenges, please visit www.robotsise.org; on Twitter @robotsise and Facebook.
RSE Accelerates Invasive Lionfish Capture at Critical Action Breeding Depth with Guardian LF1, Mark 3 Underwater Robot
Boston, Mass., March 13, 2019 – The non-profit, RSE: Robots in Service of the Environment, today announced the RSE Guardian LF1, Mark 3 prototype, an affordable unmanned undersea robot designed to control the population of invasive lionfish in the Western Atlantic. This next-generation robot, funded in part by RSE’s Kickstarter campaign, accelerates the capture of lionfish at the critical action breeding depth below safe diver depth.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, researchers have discovered that a single lionfish residing on a coral reef can reduce native reef fishes by 79 percent. “Researchers working on the lionfish issue have documented severe impacts to our native ecosystems due to lionfish predation. While divers are able to remove lionfish in shallow water habitats, the deeper regions remain lionfish safe havens. RSE’s Guardian is working on robotic solutions to reach the deeper waters and remove lionfish that have been previously inaccessible,” said Lad Akins, former Executive Director at REEF and Founder of Blue Earth Conservation.

The Guardian LF1 Solution, Mark 3
Intended for use by fisherman, tourists and environmentalists, RSE Guardian LF1 can reach the critical action depth below sport diver depth where lionfish breed. Fully functioning prototypes can stun and collect up to ten lionfish before bringing them to the surface. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, RSE’s engineers and roboticists have been working to create new innovations, research and technology to reduce the invasive impact of damaging lionfish in the Atlantic. RSE conducted several testing missions in Florida, capturing lionfish in vulnerable reef environments in the regions.

“The Lionfish are destroying the coral reef and decimating fish populations in the Atlantic. The latest innovations incorporated into the RSE Guardian LF1, enable the undersea robotic solution to go deeper, fish longer and pull in a larger haul. With each technical milestone we cross we get one step closer to saving our greatest natural resource by empowering fisherman with new tools.” said Colin Angle, co-founder and executive chairman of RSE.

Highlights of the Guardian LF1 Mark 3 Include:
  • Target Critical Action / Breeding Depth - The Guardian LF1, Mark 3 can now reach depths of 400 feet, well below recreational divers, to hunt the critical action depths where lionfish congregate to breed.
  • Enhanced Run Time + Expanded Capture Haul - Improvements have been made to increase the run time on a single battery charge to 60 minutes. Haul capacity has also doubled, enabling consumers the ability to capture more lionfish per a mission and extend missions longer than traditional lionfish hunting means.
  • Handling and Ease of Use - A set of fully integrated plug-and-play controls now allowing the ROV to function on most consumer laptops, tablets or phones with a game controller, reducing operation restrictions for RSE’s audience of consumers.
  • Modular Design - The system modules have been isolated in side tubes so development and improvements can be made independently from the main chassis and systems, reducing build time and speeding up development.

Additional information on the new Guardian LF1, Mark 3 project is available at www.robotsise.org.

RSE Kickstarter Success
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, which saw 179 backers pledge over $29,000, RSE entered an exciting new phase of development taking guidance from initial prototype testing and worked to build an improved version that has been fielded on reefs throughout Florida and the Bahamas. The Kickstarter campaign helped propel RSE’s developmental phase resulting in the Guardian LF 1, Mark 3 while simultaneously building a vibrant community of supporters and investors from across the globe that have an interest in the lionfish epidemic that is wreaking havoc throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

About RSE: Robots in Service of the Environment
Founded by roboticists, environmentalists and scientists, Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization focused on developing robot technology to solve environmental problems. Established in the fall of 2015, the non-profit’s first project is to develop an undersea robot to slow the destruction caused by the lionfish, an invasive species that is drastically reducing biodiversity and coral reef health in all warm waters of the western Atlantic. By combining technology development with mass manufacturing techniques, RSE offers a unique set of capabilities to solve some of the world's most challenging environmental problems on a massive scale.

RSE Social Media
For more information about RSE and our ongoing mission to solving large-scale environmental challenges, please visit www.robotsise.org; on Twitter @robotsise and Facebook.
RSE Unveils Guardian LF1 Undersea Robot and Launches Kickstarter Campaign
Hamilton, Bermuda, April 19, 2017 – The non-profit, RSE: Robots in Service of the Environment, today announced the Guardian LF1, an affordable unmanned undersea robot designed to control the population of invasive lionfish in the Atlantic, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to build awareness and support for the project as it enters the next stage of development. Designed to cost less than $1000 and go below sport diver depth down to 400 feet, the Guardian LF1 fully functioning prototypes can stun and collect up to ten lionfish before bringing them to the surface.

The simultaneous launch of the RSE Kickstarter campaign will help decrease populations of the voracious lionfish that is destroying beautiful reefs, threatening coastal tourism, challenging the fishing industry, and massively disrupting the Atlantic marine ecosystem. The Kickstarter campaign will help build a community of supporters that will enable creation and effective deployment of the first test fleet of affordable robots to cull targeted populations of lionfish in the Atlantic.

“The lionfish is the perfect invader, a venomous fish with an unquenchable appetite and no natural predators,” said Colin Angle, co-founder and executive chairman of RSE. “The RSE Kickstarter campaign provides an opportunity for the community to get involved in stopping lionfish from further expansion and allowing the recovery of our marine ecosystem.”

RSE will unveil the Guardian LF1 at a #EatLionfish Chefs’ Throwdown in Bermuda hosted by 11th Hour Racing on April 19, ahead of Earth day. In advance of the #EatLionfish Chefs’ Throwdown, the Guardian LF1 was used to showcase the important role low-cost robots can play in creating a reliable and sustainable way to bring lionfish meat to market.

The Guardian LF1 undersea robot consists of two main components: an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with an innovative capture mechanism, tethered to a remote surface control station. The underwater ROV is deployed from the ocean surface to seek out lionfish which can be located up to several hundred feet below safe sport diver depth. An operator at the surface controls the Guardian LF1 movements via a game controller locating and capturing lionfish. Eight separate thrusters mounted on the ROV enable it to move smoothly in all planes of motion and maintain position regardless of undersea currents using an onboard autopilot. 

Once a lionfish has been identified by the operator, through cameras and lights on the ROV, a pair of electrodes mounted on the ROV are used to apply a small electric current to the water near the fish. The operator safely controls the application of this low voltage alternating electric current, activating it for a very short period to stun and immobilize the fish. Similar technology is used regularly by marine biologists in freshwater to humanely capture and release fish unharmed. The RSE team collaborated with experts in the field of electrofishing to adapt this technology for use in salt water.  

As soon as the lionfish is immobilized, it is quickly suctioned into a containment vessel on the ROV. An innovative suctioning system was especially designed by the RSE engineering team that requires minimal power while producing a strong flow to draw in the stunned fish. A single robot can capture up to 10 lionfish before returning to the surface. The design is modular which will allow future versions to hold more or fewer fish.

RSE’s crowdfunding campaign, which runs from April 19 to June 3, will launch the non-profit’s efforts towards rapid development of the Guardian LF1 project as well as the creation of a fleet of test robots. Those looking to make contributions and join our community can visit RSE’s crowdfunding campaign site.

RSE’s innovative and viable solution to the issue of the invasive lionfish has been supported by two programs of The Schmidt Family Foundation: Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, which provided early funding to RSE for research and development, and 11th Hour Racing, which establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and marine communities to promote collaborative systemic change for the health of our ocean. RSE has also been supported through a strong partnership with the Bermuda Government through their technical experts from the Ministry of the Environment which includes fisheries and marine conservation.

"Lionfish are a formidable threat to the fisheries and reefs in Bermuda and throughout the Western Atlantic,” said Sylvan Richards, Minister of the Environment, Bermuda Government. “Working with RSE to innovate this unique solution allows us to extend our stewardship of Bermuda's biodiversity to areas we cannot easily reach, and help other jurisdictions facing the same problem."

Additional information on the Guardian LF1 project and crowdfunding campaign is available at www.robotsise.org.

About RSE - Robots in Service of the Environment
Founded by roboticists, environmentalists and scientists, Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization focused on developing robot technology to solve environmental problems.  Established in the fall of 2015, the non-profit’s first project is to develop an undersea robot to slow the destruction caused by the lionfish, an invasive species that is drastically reducing biodiversity and coral reef health in all warm waters of the western Atlantic. By combining technology development with mass manufacturing techniques, RSE offers a unique set of capabilities to solve some of the world's most challenging environmental problems on a massive scale. 

RSE Social Media
For more information about RSE and the launch of the lionfish undersea robot, please visit https://www.robotsise.com/; on Twitter @robotsise and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobotsISE/.
Robots In Service of the Environment (RSE) to Solve Large-Scale Environmental Challenges with Robots
Boston, Mass., March 28, 2017 – There is boundless potential for robotic technology to address environmental catastrophes. Recognizing this, Colin Angle, chairman, CEO and founder of iRobot and Erika Angle, Founder and Executive Director of Science From Scientists have founded Robots In Service of the Environment (RSE). RSE is an independent non-profit organization, that is focused on developing robots to solve environmental problems. Started with initial funding from the Anthropocene Institute, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, and the Angle Family, the non-profit’s first initiative is to develop a undersea robot to slow the destruction caused by lionfish, an invasive species drastically reducing biodiversity and coral reef health in all warm waters of the western Atlantic.

“As an extension of human efforts, robots have tremendous potential to solve large scale environmental problems by going and doing what a person cannot,” said Colin Angle, co-founder and executive chairman of RSE. “Whether it is helping to clean up a nuclear plant disaster, remove hazardous pollutants, or slow the expansion of an invasive species, robots play a critical role in mitigating manmade environmental problems. RSE was founded to create economically sustainable and scalable robotic solutions with this purpose.”

On April 19, 2017 at the 11th Hour Racing #EatLionfish Chefs' Throwdown at the National Museum of Bermuda, RSE will unveil a functional prototype of an affordable robot that will enable the mass capture of lionfish below depths reachable by sport divers, where the population expands unchecked. At the same time, RSE will launch a crowdfunding campaign to support the final development of the robot as well as resources to bring it to market in scale. Additional information on the robot and the crowdfunding campaign is available at www.robotsise.org. “Built by a team of volunteers made up of skilled roboticists, scientists and business people, all passionate about the environment, rapid progress has been made on the first prototypes of a robotic solution to one of the top threats to the Atlantic marine ecosystem,” said John Rizzi, Executive Director of RSE. “We are thrilled to now formally announce RSE to the public and soon move to our next phase of organizational growth including production of our first low cost robots effectively helping the environment.”

Since their accidental introduction over 25 years ago, lionfish have relentlessly invaded the western Atlantic, devouring over 100 different species of reef fish and crustaceans around Florida, throughout the Caribbean and Bermuda. An indiscriminate and voracious predator, one lionfish can reduce the fish biomass on a reef by 80 percent in just one month. It is now considered by marine biologists as a top threat to the Atlantic marine ecosystem along with climate change and ocean acidification.

“The Anthropocene Institute is working on a broad spectrum of environmental issues.  Lionfish caught our eye because they are particularly damaging; they are voracious predators, devastating fisheries and the environment up and down North and South America; they are found very deep below safe depths for diving, and reproduce quickly,” said Barbara Page, Co-founder and VP Operations of the Anthropocene Institute. “Robots are ideal for tasks that are hazardous for humans.  RSE has the proven expertise to design and mass produce robots and we are fans of their approach.”

Hand in hand with solving environmental challenges is an educational commitment focused on raising awareness and understanding of these same challenges. Leveraging Science From Scientists, RSE will create and implement educational outreach programs to expand the understanding of environmental challenges by local communities, how technology can help mitigate these challenges, and to stimulate and support STEM education and interest for young people in those communities.

11th Hour Racing #EatLionfish Chefs' Throwdown Developed in collaboration with the British America's Cup Team Land Rover BAR, 11th Hour Racing #EatLionfish Chefs' Throwdown was created to raise awareness about the environmental threat posed by lionfish, an invasive species impacting the coastal waters of Bermuda, the Caribbean and the Western Atlantic. The Throwdown will feature six celebrity chefs representing the six nations and teams competing in the America’s Cup - with Rob Ruiz as executive chef, they will serve up lionfish delicacies, a sustainable and delectable seafood choice.

About RSE - Robots in Service of the Environment
Founded by roboticist, environmentalists and scientists, Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE) is a non-profit organization focused on developing robot technology to solve environmental problems.  Established in the fall of 2015, the non-profit’s first project is to develop an undersea robot to slow the destruction caused by the lionfish, an invasive species that is drastically reducing biodiversity and coral reef health in all warm waters of the western Atlantic. By combining technology development with mass manufacturing techniques, RSE offers a unique set of capabilities to solve some of the world's most challenging environmental problems on a massive scale. 

RSE Social Media
For more information about RSE and the launch of the lionfish undersea robot, please visit https://www.robotsise.com/; on Twitter @robotsise and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobotsISE/.

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Featured Video & Article

RSE FEATURED ON PBS NEWS HOUR

We were recently featured on PBS News hour, featuring our robot built to zap “Darwin’s Nightmare” – the invasive lionfish. Lionfish are invasive to the Atlantic Ocean and their voracious appetites are upsetting coral reef ecosystems. Watch the video or view the article here.