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How Max Planck uses Artificial Intelligence in marine research

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology have developed a learning system that allows to map coral reefs faster and more comprehensively than ever before. Under the motto “Researching and protecting coral reefs” the Virtual HyperDiver developed by scienceintermedia invites to a playful examination of the research work in the field of marine microbiology.

In an exciting allocation game, the task is to recognize the various reef inhabitants such as corals, sea cucumbers and algae only on the basis of their color charts. First, visitors memorize the color spectra through an eyepiece in the learning mode. In the challenge mode, they have to prove how well their allocation ability works under time pressure. The visitors compete against artificial intelligence: anyone who assigns more organisms to the right diagrams in shorter time wins.

Playfully explore how artificial intelligence helps to protect the marine environment

In the game, visitors learn, in essence, similarly to artificial intelligence, to recognize organisms only on the basis of their color information.

The technology developed in the research project is presented in a lovingly designed animated film. For those who want to learn more about the project and the research work at Max Planck, an integrated media library offers many exciting insights.

Contribution to the Science Year 2019

The Virtual HyperDiver is on tour from May to October 2019 aboard the exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft. The exhibition is devoted to the topic of artificial intelligence, this year’s science theme. How does artificial intelligence work? How will we shape the cooperation between man and machine in the future? Which ethical questions arise? These are just a few of the questions in the Science Year 2019.

The HyperDiver project: AI for the protection of ecosystems

Coral reefs are very rich in species and extremely sensitive to changes. We have to protect their diversity, but we can only protect what we know. The HyperDiver uses artificial intelligence to determine the biodiversity and health of a reef. For this purpose it is equipped with special cameras that are also used in satellites and provides it with additional information. The HyperDiver is transported over the reef by a diver and it photographs the reef dwellers. These photos are initially used to train the artificial intelligence of the HyperDiver. Afterwards, it can independently and reliably recognize corals, sponges, starfish, sea cucumbers and anemones.

Habitats around the world are changing faster and faster due to global warming, tourism and resource extraction, among other factors. This change can hardly be explored with conventional methods. The artificial intelligence of the HyperDiver can collect more accurate data of the coral reef in less time than humans.