Researchers develop miniature Robot that swims with fish, trails behavior
A research team at the Robotic Systems Laboratory of the EPFL has developed a new small robot that can swims with fish, acknowledge how they correspond with each other, and make them come together or change direction. These abilities have been verified in zebrafish schools.
Frank Bonnet said, “We designed a sort of ‘secret agent’ that can get into these schools of tiny fish.” The robot is 7 cm long and is provided with magnets that connect it to a small engine employed beneath the aquarium to drive it through the water. The team selected Danio rerio, a zebrafish, for their research as it is a vigorous type whose schools are likely to change direction and budge about very rapidly.
The research program has 2 aspects. The foremost concerns with biology, that is, learning the social communications between individual fish. At this point, the robot assists the researchers to produce targeted stimuli and analyze the response of the fish response. The other aspect concerns with robotics—the part where the research team of EPFL focused on.
Initially, the team found out the key conditions that would enable the robot to mix into zebrafish schools and consequently manipulate their behavior. These consisted of the physical characteristics of the fish, such as color, shape, stripes, and so on. Also taken into consideration were their behavioral characteristics, such as acceleration speed, linear velocity, the space between individual fish, their motion & vibrations, the schools’ size, and the tempo at which they budge their tails.
The team also wanted to design a closed-loop system, wherein the robot will be capable of not only influencing the behavior of the fish but also acclimatize its own behavior by acknowledging how to converse and move about like they do. Consequently, the swimming mechanism of the robot was progressively enhanced as the robot resided more time with the fish.
The team validated their robot in diverse aquariums, few of which had defined regions such as corridors and little rooms. The experiments comprised 10 schools of 4 zebrafish each that communicated with the robot. For every experiment, the team logged the movement and position of individual fish, the school’s movement as a whole and the propensity of the robot to mix into the school.
Then the outcomes were compared by then with examinations made on 5 zebrafish schools swimming under the similar setting, but exclusive of the robot. And their results were unequivocal. Bonnet said, “The robot was accepted by the fish into their schools without any issue. And also the robot was capable of imitating the behavior of the fish, prompting them to propel from one area to another or alter direction.”