20 January 2013, 04.19 AM
Robo-aquarium that lets FISH drive themselves around the house
It could give your fish a new lease of life – and allow them to explore the world outside their aquarium. A team of Dutch researchers has developed a remote control aquarium on wheels that fish can steer themselves. The bizarre gadget is set to be launched as a Kickstarter project.
It uses a camera to analyse the direction the fish is swimming in – and controls the car accordingly.
‘We came up with the idea of developing the ‘Fish on Wheels’ device because we wanted to have something to showcase the possibilities of computer vision technology,’ Thomas de Wolf of Dutch firm Studio Diip told MailOnline.
‘We then came to the idea that with computer vision even animals would be able to control devices.
‘The best way to show this was to enable fish to drive their own aquarium wherever they want to go.’
A prototype version of ‘Fish on Wheels’ was constructed using a standard webcam, a battery powered Beagleboard and an Arduino controlled robot vehicle.
Using the contrast of the fish with the bottom of the fish tank, its position is determined and used to send commands to the Arduino computer control board to move the car into that direction.
‘Our pet fish have always been limited to their water holding area known as ‘the fish tank’, the firm said.
‘In an attempt to liberate fish all over the world, the first self driving car for fish has been developed.
‘Up until now driving vehicles has been limited to mankind only (excluding a handful of autonomous vehicles driven by computers), but now your pet fish can also put the pedal to the metal.’
de Wolf said the project was still only at the prototype stage, and is set to be improved before being launched as a Kickstarter project.
‘Hopefully this invention will encourage more development in enhanced pet mobility, so pet animals can travel the world more freely.’
The team admit they are not sure how much the fish knows about its newfound ability.
‘We are still not sure if the fish really has any idea of what it is doing for now,’ said de Wolf.
‘After letting it drive a little while we always put it back in it’s normal aquarium with plants and filters to not stress it out too much.’