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'Robofish' Schools the Rest

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-gotta-license-for-that? dept.

Robotics 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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I can use my fingers (4, Informative)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790898)

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.

Re:I can use my fingers (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790916)

try washing your hands first.

Re:I can use my fingers (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790944)

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?

Re:I can use my fingers (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792406)

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:I can use my fingers (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792816)

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:I can use my fingers (2, Interesting)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#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).

Re:I can use my fingers (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32835124)

I have a fish that follows the turtle. It hangs onto his tail and gets towed. he's a smart un

Excel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32790900)

I can't believed they used Excel for this. Otherwise neat.

Re:Excel? (3, Insightful)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791734)

Firstly they had to Disable all mackerels without notification

Macros. I meant macros.

Re:Excel? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793492)

they had to Disable all mackerels

Easy enough with a few thousand volts.

Traditional fishing (5, Interesting)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790902)

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

Re:Traditional fishing (3, Funny)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790986)

Gives a new meaning to crowd sourcing.

Re:Traditional fishing (4, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Traditional fishing (2, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792446)

Surely you mean phishing.

Re:Traditional fishing (5, Interesting)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791030)

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.

Re:Traditional fishing (5, Insightful)

dominious (1077089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791068)

Anyway, with this kind of setup, this can not be used in the open ocean.

The point of this work was to study the behaviour of fish. Now that we know the behaviour, we can go on and build a better robot.

Re:Traditional fishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791358)

Yea, one with friking laser beams on its head

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32794332)

Do we need a 'Tuna Test' as opposed to a 'Turing Test'?

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792566)

Wouldn't it be wild if it turned out the fish were following magnetic pulses and ignoring their plastic model?

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#32804134)

Not so much with the difficulty of making one - one can be made. But what's the cost of having it eaten by a shark?

Re:Traditional fishing (5, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791174)

It's the damn dolphins.

Re: damn dolphins (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791240)

So long and thanks for all the robot fish?

Re:Traditional fishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791190)

After the first paragraph I wasn't sure if you were talking about real life or the short story.

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791208)

Yeah, the "afterthought" turned out somewhat long.
Reverse the order and put a "ps" before the first sentence to clear things up ; ).

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791340)

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).

Re:Traditional fishing (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32798356)

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? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:electromagnets? (2, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

No more nets (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

RoboJaws...Here We Come... (1)

lloy0076 (624338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790958)

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

Obligatory (3, Funny)

morrison (40043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790998)

I, for one, welcome our new sushi overlords.

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791032)

Why? Are they coming over? I forgot to grab wasabi.

Skynet's inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791006)

Fish terminators, infiltrator units designed to gain their trust.

Re:Skynet's inspiration (1)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791082)

what's the difference between trust and blind faith again?

Re:Skynet's inspiration (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791162)

Faith is trust without experience.

Re:Skynet's inspiration (0, Offtopic)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791248)

Nice! You should put that on a t-shirt.

Re:Skynet's inspiration (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791166)

Trust is easier to earn, and much easier to lose.

Re:Skynet's inspiration (0, Offtopic)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32796020)

Little known fact, trust actually makes wine and crackers taste better than blind faith. I shouldn't say that, but I'm enjoying the separation of church and state for a little while.

Re:Skynet's inspiration (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791164)

So many questions...

When will we be able to jump uncanny valley like that for humans?

Did the fish try to mate, too? It's 2010, and while we're far from the (promised... ;/ ) flying cars, sexbots (of the more sophisticated kind than those already acceptable to woman, for a few decades) are way overdue.

no yuo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791154)

first frosty shark piss post!

Fish till we die! (3, Interesting)

Galik (730522) | more than 4 years ago | (#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!!

Big fish all gone ? (3, Funny)

ilotgov (637717) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (2, Funny)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791308)

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

Next step... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791314)

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

Re:Next step... (1)

Yaotzin (827566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792942)

Did mutated sea bass go out of style or something?

A hormonal uncanny valley (4, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:A hormonal uncanny valley (2, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:A hormonal uncanny valley (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32796816)

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 importance) onto its actions, hence it gradually decreases in its ability to lead. Since real fish neither recruit or lead its hard to compare results with real fishes.

Well that explains where Karl Rove came from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791602)

Great timing (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791730)

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

Video (5, Informative)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791766)

Here's a site with a video [futurity.org] of Robofish in action.

useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792388)

Release a million of them who know where the oil is, and steer schools of fish away from it.

Pretty Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792612)

I saw these guys give a presentation on this stuff nearly two years ago. Does it really take that long to get papers published?

Re:Pretty Old (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32797460)

I saw these guys give a presentation on this stuff nearly two years ago. Does it really take that long to get papers published?

No, but it took this long to find an Excell-developer and get him to complete the project in working order...

Don't tell them there are more fast alternatives, they'll rage...

Another attempt (1)

Methinx (1190823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32792634)

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.

Comment unrelated (1)

crono_acl (1728690) | more than 4 years ago | (#32813984)

Does this mean we are going to have robosushi?
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