Robot Fish Convincing Enough For Real Fish To Follow

February 23, 2012

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Because why shouldn't robotic fish lead all the live ones into the mouths of sharks to inflate the price of sushi, scientists at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University have developed a little robotic fish that real ones find so convincing they're willing to follow it upstream. We...are gonna need more bears.

To help investigate the dynamics of fish schooling, Marras and Porfiri designed a robot inspired by Notemigonus crysoleucas, a species of Golden shiner. The plastic-covered robofish was twice the size of the real fish but mimicked its back-and-forth tail motion.


When the researchers plopped single Golden shiners into a water tunnel meant to simulate a stream-like current, each fish swam in school-like positions near their robotic counterparts for several minutes (video below). Around a robot that didn't move, however, the Golden shiners swam randomly for shorter periods of time.

Ugh, fish are so stupid. No lie, I used to have an aquarium growing up and when the fish weren't all trying to jump out of the tank so I could find them dried up on the carpet, they were trying to crush themselves under the rum jug the little plastic pirate was perpetually drinking out of. "Maybe they just REALLY didn't want to live with you -- you ever think of that?" *sobbing* ALL TOO OFTEN.

Hit the jump for a brief demo of the oh hell no, robo-Nemo -- NOT IN MY SCHOOL.

Real Fish Welcome Robotic Overlord Into Their School [wired]

Thanks to whoever sent me this last night whose email I couldn't find again this morning, I am a jerk and I will make it up to you. Or forget. Probably forget (keep those tips coming).

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