An underwater nail gun to help improve the efficiency of coral out-planting processes
See Project at Rocket
project type
Capstone Project
8 Months


Currently many factors are endangering the survival of coral reefs. With warmer climates, corals bleach and lose the necessary algae within their exoskeletons. Eventually, corals die under these conditions. Without human intervention, both our oceans and our future are at risk.  (Young, Schopmeyer, & Lirman, 2012).

The current restoration system has a bottleneck issue. The regrowth process of corals is so efficient that it is difficult to plant them as they grow with only a limited amount of human resources. This product intends to solve this problem by allowing the user(s) to plant more corals with the same amount of human resources.

Michael Elmarson Memorial Award
Outstanding Environmental
Awareness for Capstone Project
Rocket Award Finalist
ACIDO Rocket Award Finalist

Staghorn Coral

Stingray’s design focuses on the restoration of the staghorn species of coral as the species is one of the most important corals that contribute to the well being of an underwater ecosystem.

Current Restoration System

Currently there are worldwide efforts for restoring corals. The Coral Reef Restoration (CRF) is an example of a company that is dedicated to restoring corals. Throughout this project, the CRF has provided valuable resources and insight that guided many decisions.

Once the corals have been fragmented, they are fastened to “Coral Trees” using monofilament/fishing wire.

When the corals reach maturity, they are cut loose from the coral trees and transported to the planting location via boat in fishing nets and buckets filled with salt water.

Once at the planting location, two divers are tasked with planting corals. One diver is in charge of fastening the corals, while the other follows closely behind carrying the net full of corals.

Once the corals have been planted they are left alone to grow within their environment and are monitored closely for the next years/months to come.

Their current efforts to restoring corals use a process called “fragmentation”. Fragmentation is the process of breaking up corals into small pieces as it speeds up the growth of corals

Restoration System Redesigned


Sincethere aren’t any oceans near Ottawa, Canada it was difficult to get first-hand experience with coral research. Despite the challenge, I was able to get the nessecairy information I needed to tackle the problem at hand through primairy & secondary research, Interviews and empathetic testing.

Extensive research was done on the type of chorals and current tools/methods currently use to plant chorals. Additionally, I used design research methods such as concept and mind mapping to understand the broader scope of the coral re-planting process.

I was able to conduct interviews over e-mail to the CRF. The foundation gave me valuable insight that were otherwise not possible to get online. I was put in contact with an intern, the head of thes cience department at the CRFand the head of the planting department.

Testing in Tulum

When testing how the out planting pod would sink in the ocean, it was crucial to observe how the pod put would interact with the ocean wave currents.

Although the testing was approximate and limited due to the conditions I was in, it provided valuable insight.

Design & Prototyping

Final Model


It was important to strategically brand the product in a way that would resonate with the target audience.

The two Jungian archetypes that the product is modeled after are Explorer (70%) and Hero (30%). With the brand statement and archetype developed, these criteria guided the visual language of the brand.

Brand Statement
"Stingray is a tool for environmentally friendly customers in an ambitious environment with a confident voice. Eliciting the feeling of empowerment and precision.”

Final Result & Key Learnings

Throughout this project, I learned various skills spanning across design, prototyping and design research. In the future I would have liked to have created a more robust ‘works-like’ prototype to test the full capacity of the spring loaded mechanism inside Stingray.

The most important finding across this project was the realization of how important coral reefs are to our ecosystem. We would trully be devasted without corals. I’m thankful that there are companies like the Coral Reef Restoration Foundation and documentaries like Chasing Coral.

I can only hope that these efforts will be enough. Save the corals.

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