Coral of an unknown provenance.

Remember coralbots, the tiny robots that work in autonomous underwater swarms to repair coral reefs? Their inventors have put together a Kickstarter to fund development, and in exchange for your donation of $25 or more they’ll put your name on a robot — or, if you send enough money, on a reef.

No, they won’t burn your name into the coral Chairface Chippendale-style, but for a $1,000 pledge they’ll put your name on a stone that will become part of a reconstructed reef. Plus, of course, you’ll be helping to make these reef-saving bots a reality.

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We don’t need tiny intelligent robots to repair coral reefs damaged by bottom fishing, dynamite fishing, or natural disasters, but right now it’s a work-intensive process involving divers transplanting coral fragments onto the reef by hand. It takes weeks or months, when the robots could be able to do it in days. That’s important not just for preserving our natural environment, but for supporting the 500 million people worldwide whose livelihoods depend on the reefs.

Anyway, why do with manpower what you can do with tiny robots? That’s no way to win the future. And for as little as $25, those could be tiny robots with your name on them! Or, if you pretend your name is Farty McButtpants, tiny robots emblazoned with hilarious swears! I honestly see no better way to spend 25 bucks.

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