Yo Fish, We Pimped Your Tank

fishie

[Studio Diip] a machine vision company based in The Netherlands has created fish on wheels, a robotic car controlled by a goldfish. The idea of giving fish mobility on land is nothing new, but this definitely is a novel implementation. A Logitech 9X0 series camera captures overhead images of the fish tank. The images are then fed into a BeagleBoard XM, where they are processed. The image is thresholded, then a centroid of the fish-blob is determined. With the current and previous blob locations known, the BeagleBoard can determine the fish’s swim direction. It then and commands the chassis to drive accordingly.

The system appears to work pretty well on the video, however we’re not sure how much of the input is due to the fish swimming, and how much is due to the water sloshing and pushing the fish around. We definitely like the chrome rims and knobby tires on the fishes’ pimped out ride.  This could become a trend. Just make sure no animals or humans are hurt, and send your animal powered hacks to our tip line!

[Thanks Parker]

Comments

  1. supershwa says:

    Nemo found his license to drive! Very cool.

  2. Hirudinea says:

    Wow, that is cool, does he have any idea if the fish actually understands it is controlling the tank … um, tank? But I an worried though, if this keeps up pretty soon horses will be driving cars!

    Shit, too late!

  3. madeofsolder says:

    Looks like the controls are reversed, also might be a good idea to accelerate slower.

  4. John Berry says:

    Outstanding! I too have been working on goldfish transportation. Goldfish Gondola: http://imgur.com/a/mTv1f (Work in progress)

  5. fonz says:

    put belts and a turret on it to be a real “tank” ;)

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    now reverse it with birds under water in a bubble

  7. rue_mohr says:

    if I were a fish thats the fish I’d want to be,
    unless the bird was on my 6

  8. Chris C. says:

    Some goldfish are fairly intelligent, bettas too. A few might be able to grasp the concept.

  9. vonskippy says:

    Wonder what the fish actually sees? And how far can it see? Seems unlikely there’s enough info for the fish to connect the dots and understand it’s “steering” the boat. Wouldn’t be all that hard to test – some type of reward system for avoiding an obstacle, once the fish is trained, move the obstacle and see if it still avoids it.

  10. The Internet says:

    Fish torture essentially.

  11. Sheff says:

    I say scale it up and use a Dolphin :-)

  12. Galane says:

    It’s the origin story for Dr. Ghoti, a villain often seen in Supermegatopia (some content NSFW)

  13. echodelta says:

    I want to build a turtle speedster.

  14. arachnidster says:

    I’m waiting for the first time the fish tries to drive down a flight of stairs.

  15. justice099 says:

    Suggestions for improvement:

    Anti-reflective coating inside the tank so that the vision system works better. When the fish near the edge, there are cases where it sees an entire fish moving in the opposite direction.

    Anti-splash mechanism. Something to absorb the movement of the water. Like a heavy bouy or a spring retained plate above the water (with air holes obviously) to provide some resistance. Or possibly even an enclosed, slightly pressurized tank with an aerator system. I suppose even a platform below it could absorb the movement of the water.

    Essentially you want the forces to vertical instead of against the walls in horizontal.

    And of course a reward/punishment system in order to train them. For punishment, you could fashion something to look like a predator approaching when obstacles are detected.

    • justice099 says:

      A globe tank or wheel-shaped tank that can roll slightly independent of the frame might also absorb some of the sloshing or at least allow it to be transferred to right direction to either help propel or even add some electrical energy back into the system which could increase torque in the opposing direction to compensate for the sloshing.

    • John Little says:

      A Kalman filter can predict where the centre of mass will be from one acquired frame to the next. This allows you to follow the right blob.

      We do this with maggots. Under the right (wrong) illumination, the maggot’s reflection on the sides of the Petri dish is as big as the maggot itself. Not a problem with a Kalman filter, we can calculate the centre of mass for all the detected blobs and pick / follow the one closest to the predicted position.

      It’s a shame that Studio Diip didn’t give any details on the project. For instance, the segmentation they used to detect the fish looks really good.

      • justice099 says:

        Until it locks on to the reflection, of course. Are you suggesting manual intervention to correct that? What determines initially which is the correct blob to follow?

        • justice099 says:

          Seems much simpler to just eliminate reflection. KISS principle and all.

        • John Little says:

          As justice099 suggested, KISS. Our method is to start the analysis from a good position. i.e. positioning the maggot in the centre of the dish rather than near one of the edges. Works reasonably well that way.

          You could also determine a region of interest (for example the bottom of your dish / tank) and mask out any blob outside the region.

          There are much more robust methods out there but our problem was fairly well constrained, so we had no need to look into anything more complicated than Kalman.

          Cheers,
          John

  16. Stan says:

    Just what Klaus needs to annoy Francine !

  17. Mazhu says:

    Clearly an improment over the goldfish installation by Marco Evaristti.

  18. mb says:

    As soon as piranha get these, we’re all screwed!

  19. xztraz says:

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