Play This Cool Game To Help Save Coral Reefs

Check out NeMO-Net, a fun game that also contributes to science and the fight to save our oceans.

Our oceans do an amazing job of absorbing a huge amount of heat caused by our CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. They also provide more oxygen than all of our rainforests. The problem is that absorbing heat from the atmosphere has a negative effect on the beautiful coral reefs we’ve always seen on the TV.

There’s now a game called NeMO-Net that was developed by a team of NASA scientists in silicon valley.

The game is all about classifying corals, and has been adapted into a tool that can be used by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). An open source deep convolutional neural network (CNN) that leverages NASA’s Supercomputer, Pleiades, the app uses game data to classify and asses the health of coral in the ocean.

Users of the app highlight areas of coral and can learn about the different types of coral they’ve found. In hitghlighting what coral looks like, users are training NASA’s super computers to recognise and classify coral from space.

You’ll start off with a tutorial, before moving on to simple images, then increasingly complicated seascapes with a multitude of different coral all packed into the picture. Don’t worry, there’s always a guide to the coral you are supposed to be classifying and an option to mark areas as ‘unknown’. Starting in one location, the game begins to open up as you play and progression will lead to more global locations becoming available. You can even unlock the ability to classify actual sattelite images taken from space.

The idea is to enable AI driven analysis of coral reefs in order to tell what type of coral live there and the effect of rising temperatures that manifest in coral bleaching.

Without the app, mapping reefs usually involves high amounts of data and low-quality photos, which lead to slow analysis. Eight per cent of the ocean floor is mapped out, said Ved Chirayath, an earth scientist with Nasa who leads the team, at the same photo resolution as terrestrial land.

“The key questions of where is the coral, how healthy is it, and how is it changing over time – that has to be answered by somebody, in the past, having to go through the mapping data and manually classifying those corals,” Chirayath said.”

The Guardian

NeMO-Net is actually quite theraputic. 3D painting in the ocean has never been more fun.