Robotic Fish Attracts the Real Thing

Looks do matter to zebrafish, which were attracted to this robot fish because of its bright color and round female-like shape. (M.Porfiri/Polytechnic Institute of New York University)

Robotic fish could one day play an important role in steering schools of real fish away from aquatic dangers, such as invasive species, pollution and other hazards, according to experimental evidence released in a new study.

Mechanical engineer Maurizio Porfiri works with zebrafish, the so-called lab rats of the aquatic world. He and his colleagues at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute designed a remote controlled, motorized zebrafish robot.

Painted blue with bright yellow stripes, the robotic fish was shaped to resemble a female which was ready to mate.

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