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Robotics United Kingdom Hardware

'Robofish' Schools the Rest 57

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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  • 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.

  • electromagnets? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:19AM (#32790904)

    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?

  • No more nets (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:19AM (#32790906)

    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.

  • 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

  • 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 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?
  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @04:36PM (#32793654)

    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)

  • Re:electromagnets? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikael ( 484 ) on Sunday July 04, 2010 @05:31PM (#32793972)

    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.

  • by Cassius Corodes ( 1084513 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @02:33AM (#32796748)
    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 do much herding).

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant