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Monday, October 10, 2011

Fish Robots Teach Kids About The Sea

Hayashi Masamichi (surname first), a marine ecologist and educator, has created a set of incredibly life-like robotic fish from recycled items like old windshield wipers and raincoats in an effort to teach kids more about sea life.

His vast knowledge of robotics and sea life has created over 100 hand-made eco-friendly fish robots that are extremely life-like with the ability to ape the exact swimming motions of their real life brethren.

Hayashi has replicated creatures ranging from turtles to a 5ft long, ¥2-million (~Cdn/US $27,000) replica of the prehistoric coelacanth (see photo above) with was believed extinct until fisherman brought one to the surface back in 1938... many more have been found since then. It was first thought to have evolved some 400 million years ago.

The robots are operated by remote control and contain a series of complex internal servos and motors - in fact, some of the larger models are capable of opening and closing their mouths and eating artificial prey.

Hayashi has also made a series of videos documenting each of his inventions, in an attempt to broaden school chidrens' knowledge of sea creatures. His robotic fish can be seen engaging in a whole range of bizarre activities including picking up rubbish from the water and handing it to people on the shore.

Despite Japan's obsession with fish, they are not the only country to have delved into the world of robotic creatures from the deep. Back in 2005, the London Aquarium hosted its own intelligent robo-fish. However Hiyashi chose to create robots based mostly on fish rather than the super large dolphin of orca (killer whales) which use larger robotic parts.

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