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Nemo is a four stage service helping municipalities and coral restoration agencies restore coral reefs in an efficient, sustainable way, with large-scale capacity.

  • Nemo during outplanting process.

  • The problem statement and the process behind Nemo.

    The problem statement and the process behind Nemo.

  • The Nemo System.

  • Specialized Transport boxes for safe handling of young corals.

  • Nemo carrying up to 100 Corals ready for outplanting.

  • The outplanting process together with Nemo.

What it does

Nemo is a four stage service helping municipalities and coral restoration agencies restore coral reefs in an efficient, sustainable way, with large-scale capacity. It consists of a digital platform, a specialised transport box and a collaborative drone.

Your inspiration

Coral reefs cover 0.1% of the ocean floor, but support 25% of all marine wildlife. The effect of humans on this precious ecosystem has taken its toll, and estimations suggest that 90% of coral reefs will vanish by 2050. Rebuilding and supporting healthy ecosystems, such as coral reefs, is one of the most crucial parts of recovery from the destructive impact humans have had on the planet, and will help to reach the goal of a sustainable future. So we posed the question: How can the journey towards a more sustainable, efficient and simple coral restoration process be designed?

How it works

The digital platform helps scientists to research and monitor coral reefs more accurately and efficiently. At the same time, it creates global awareness about coral reefs, from scientists to citizens. Data gathered from monitoring the reefs with the collaborative drone will feed this platform. The specialized transport box supports corals during their relocation from the nursery site to the outplant site. It regulates the temperature of the saltwater and pH value, to give the young corals the best chance for survival during their journey to the outplant site. These boxes either live on the transport vans or boats for easy handling. One function of the collaborative drone is to help scientists monitor by 3D scanning and mapping of coral reefs. This information is used directly in the digital platform and made available for coral restoration agencies. The other function is to support the outplanting process by carrying up to 100 corals to the outplant site.

Design process

In our process we focused a lot on how we can support nature and the processes behind coral reproduction. We used a human centered design approach to help solve an environment centered design problem to allow us and many others a better future and understanding. This way we can combine the best of both processes and implement our findings from both approaches. The process behind Nemo was also highly iterative and we involved multiple people. We conducted expert interviews with Alessandra Shea who is based in Hawaii and working for the NOAA: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and also talked to non-profit organisations. We also had the chance to talk to the Coral Restoration Foundation and they explained to us their restoration process and efforts. During our process we reached out to experts to get their feedback on our concepts and ideas to verify we are heading into the right direction. Next to this we also conducted interviews with people from around the world to gather their perspective on a more sustainable living. We hosted creative workshops to bring in input from other designers and disciplines to broaden our spectrum. During this process we also incorporated digital prototyping and iterative sketching exercises.

How it is different

Currently there is no solution which is supporting coral reef restoration on level like Nemo does. This way Nemo is supporting this process in a unique way. With Nemo coral restoration agencies and organizations can start plating corals in a large scale way. With the system, they can plant up to 100 corals per day, with only 2-3 people necessary. It smoothes the workflow of coral restoration agencies and organizations. This way, they can focus on growing and outplanting. Instead of having 10-15 people for one outplant, agencies and organizations only need 2-3 people for one outplant round. The main parts of Nemo are produced out of recycled plastic and intentionally shown as such. This way, Nemo is in line with the mission to support nature. The system uses a combination of growing corals on pre manufactured locally recycled structures, using bio adhesive and drilling holes into the ocean floor to make the process optimized for two people.

Future plans

We are currently looking into how we can move forward with this project and would love to get funding to develop it further. We were in contact with different agencies and there is definetly a interest in the project and a solution which would help restoration agencies. For us the next steps would be to get funding and also finding a research and development partner to test and implement Nemo into a current process.


Nemo was recognised at: Reddot Concept Award 2020, Core77 Design for Social Impact Notable, Core77 Transportion Noteable

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