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Watch this fish drive his own tank around

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 11:34am
Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor

Do you ever feel like your fish is jealous of the cat and dog who can walk freely about the house just because they have the ability to “breathe oxygen”? Have you caught your fish eyeing the parrot and his high flying, free-wheeling ways? Is he jealous of the hamster in the ball who gets to roll around the house?

Most likely, your fish doesn’t care, but he might. In fact, according to Culum Brown, a University of Edinburgh biologist , “Fish are more intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates, including nonhuman primates.” So, it’s possible your fish is actually a lot smart than we give them credit for.

See: Photos of the Day: A fish on wheels

In order to offer fish some of the freedom their fellow pets have, StudioDip  has created “Fish on Wheels”, which is essentially a self-driving car for fish. The designers used a webcam, batter power Beagleboard and an Arduino controlled robot vehicle. It’s powered by a DC Motor and battery pack. The movement of the fish relative to the bottom of the tank sends commands to the Arduino and moves in the desired direction. Basically, whichever way the fish swims is the way the car turns.

I know fish may not seem like the greatest drivers in the world, but in 2009, Nissan decided to use “fish-inspired” technology as the basis for their robot car concept. Basically, the company used the behavioral patterns of fish in a school as a way to develop technology for collision-free driving. Given that you rarely see fish collide (if ever?) as they have amazing anti-collision instincts and obstacle avoidance abilities. It’s not the first time inspiration has been taken from animals (bumblebees exhibit these behaviours as well) but it make me feel a little better about fish driving their tanks around.

All hail our scaly friends.

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