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Robotics United Kingdom Hardware

'Robofish' Schools the Rest 57

Posted by timothy
from the you-gotta-license-for-that? dept.
schliz writes "Biologists from the University of Leeds have built a computer-controlled replica of a three-spined stickleback fish to study how the behavior of individual fish might influence the movement of others. The so-called 'Robofish' was able to recruit single fish into a group, and cause fish in groups of up to ten to turn in the same direction as itself. The researchers claim that Robofish is the first robotic fish to 'interact convincingly' with a school of fish and convince the whole group to make a sharp turn."
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'Robofish' Schools the Rest

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  • I can use my fingers (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:18AM (#32790898) Journal

    I can move my fingers close to my fish to convince my fish to make a turn. Or my cat. Or my human.

    In other news, an interesting moving thing ahead of you might be worth following.

    • by JustOK (667959) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:21AM (#32790916) Journal

      try washing your hands first.

      • Well played, Sir. But seriously, it works either side of the tank, even when I've obsessively washed my hands so as not to pollute the aquarium. Some fish seem to have excellent visual acuity, so maybe they do care whether something looks exactly like one of them or not... so, what must be modified in the static appearance / movement for their responses to change?

    • by Jurily (900488)

      In other news, an interesting moving thing ahead of you might be worth following.

      But this is not curiosity, it's pack behavior. In other words, the machine convinced these fish that it was one of them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Fish don't like it when you anthropomorphise. Are "curiosity" and "pack behaviour" so distinguishable?

        Anyway, drive by a road accident and ask the same question of humans.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Wouldn't be hard to distinguish it in an experiment. Whereas fish might move towards what they are curious about (and soon get bored of it as well), fish would move with the pack. I.e. when you see something interesting you stop and have a look at it etc - that is curiosity, when you cross the street in a crowd you are subconsciously adjusting your path to match those around you - that is pack behaviour. (crowd behaviour is one of the few cases where humans engage in pack-like behaviour, otherwise we dont d
    • I have a fish that follows the turtle. It hangs onto his tail and gets towed. he's a smart un
  • Traditional fishing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WarJolt (990309) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:19AM (#32790902)

    Traditional fishing would be obsolete. Just "recruit" the fish into the net.

    • by TheKidWho (705796) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:49AM (#32790986)

      Gives a new meaning to crowd sourcing.

      • by mikael (484) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @12:56PM (#32792358)

        You can do the same thing on the London underground - get off at any platform at a busy time and walk to the platform in the opposite direction. At least 10 or more tourists will follow you and each other, thinking you are heading to the street (the WAY OUT signs don't always point somewhere meaningful). After you stop, they figure you weren't going where they want to go, and start following someone else.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jurily (900488)

        Surely you mean phishing.

    • by chichilalescu (1647065) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:09AM (#32791030) Homepage Journal

      from the article:

      "Dubbed 'Robofish', the device is a plaster cast of a three-spined stickleback fish that is mounted on a rare-earth magnet.
      It is controlled by an electromagnet that is located beneath the tank and controlled, in turn, by TestPoint and Microsoft Excel software packages on a PC"

      I don't really understand why they call it a robot, since it's just a magnet being pulled and pushed from the exterior. Anyway, with this kind of setup, this can not be used in the open ocean.

      I'm actually disappointed, as after the japanese made robots that can dance, making a robotic fish doesn't seem that complicated.

    • by MRe_nl (306212) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @06:46AM (#32791120)

      This really reminds me of the Jack Vance short story, "The Sub-Standard Sardines".

      Traditional fishing is almost obsolete, but for different reasons.

      Our oceans are not yet empty but the signs are not good. The seas have always been humanity's single largest source of protein, but for the first time in history this critical food supply is at risk in many areas. Despite an ever-intensifying fishing effort, the global catch appears to have reached its limit while the demand for seafood continues to grow.

      According to the FAO, 15 of the world's 17 major ocean fisheries are already depleted or over-exploited. These trends are even more troubling when population growth is considered. The world population - now at six billion - will continue to grow by over 60 million people per year, with nearly half this growth in areas within 100 kilometers of a coastline. Over one billion people in Asia already depend on ocean fish for their entire supply of protein, as does 1 out of every 5 Africans. Although North America and Europe rely less on ocean-caught protein, much of the seafood consumed on both continents is imported from developing countries. The entire world shares an interest in restoring and maintaining this critical food supply.
      Empty Oceans, Empty Nets

    • by ascari (1400977)
      Not so sure about that. If we were to turn to nature/evolution for clues about how to best gobble up a school of smaller animals brute force approaches (whales, whale sharks) seem to win over fucking with their heads (angler fish and such).
    • by tomzyk (158497)

      Traditional fishing would be obsolete. Just "recruit" the fish into the net.

      Great. So, only the dumb fish that can't distinguish between natural fish and robofish are the ones that will be tricked into our nets. This leaves only the most intelligent fish left in the sea. What, are you trying to speed-along evolution and create a new breed of smart-fish that will probably eventually turn against mankind for abusing/polluting their habitat? ARE YOU MAD?!

  • electromagnets? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Have the researchers done a control test using only the electromagnet in order to rule out the magnet being the controlling factor here? I might be misguided in thinking a magnet could alter the direction of the fish.

    Could anyone confirm or deny this and tell me if the researchers did this control study?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikael (484)

      Some fish such as North Sea salmon seemed to prefer to swim against the ocean current. This was proved with ocean tank experiments. It wouldn't matter which direction the water was coming from, the time of day, the position of the Moon, Sun or stars, the fish would swim in the direction the water was being recirculated. If one fish changes direction, that would cause vortices and turbulence which in turn would create pressure changes that other fish would be able to detect.

  • No more nets (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The end of the netting industry. Just send out your robofish and sit back with a nice cold beer. They will swim right into the back of the trailer. Only now we have to wait for NIAA to lobby congress to stop this destruction of their industry.

  • Well, won't that guy who pretended to be Jaws with that fin be PISSED now...he could have done it for real!

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by morrison (40043) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:57AM (#32790998) Homepage

    I, for one, welcome our new sushi overlords.

  • Fish till we die! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Galik (730522) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:31AM (#32791230)
    Well its nice to know that when the oil companies finally poison every fish in every ocean... ... we will still be able to GO FISHING!!
  • by ilotgov (637717) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:48AM (#32791288)
    It is controlled by an electromagnet that is located beneath the tank and controlled, in turn, by TestPoint and Microsoft Excel software packages on a PC.
    Microsoft is going after small fish now.
  • James Pond (Score:3, Funny)

    by Robotron23 (832528) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @07:54AM (#32791308) Homepage

    James Pond [wikipedia.org] has prior art on this - and his first appearance showed him extremely cod at fixing undersea oil-leaking holes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Attaching lasers to the fish. It's the next best thing to attaching lasers to sharks.

  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @09:35AM (#32791598)
    For fish? The fact that they lost interest after 30 minutes is interesting; it implies that something that takes as long as 30 minutes to get into their little fishy skulls told them that this wasn't the leader they sought. was it doing the follow me dance too many times? Was it not putting the "follow me" chemical into the water? What is the success rate of the robot fish versus a real fish in a study that covers several recruitment attempts by a real fish?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756)

      The fact that they lost interest after 30 minutes is interesting; it implies that something that takes as long as 30 minutes to get into their little fishy skulls told them that this wasn't the leader they sought.

      This is not the leader you're looking for (waves fin)

    • I don't think real fish actually try to "recruit", they just want to hang our with other like fish and so a group forms. In a school of fish, no fish is actually leading, but each fish is paying attention to what the other fishes around are doing as well as to any external threats / obstacles. So what may be happening is that as the robot fish is trying to lead the other fish, the other fish are learning that the robo-fish is not actually turning due to anything important and are putting less weight (aka im
  • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:12AM (#32791730) Journal

    We can release these into the gulf of mexico. Robots love oil.

  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by MMatessa (673870) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @10:25AM (#32791766)
    Here's a site with a video [futurity.org] of Robofish in action.
  • There was a similar project [cyberryba.eu] created to fulfill the MSc diploma requirements of one of Polish polytechnics (Krakow University of Technology), though this one is surely lacking the biological side.
  • Does this mean we are going to have robosushi?

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