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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

The Robots Will See You Now


A live zebrafish (left) nears a robot zebrafish.

New York University researchers used real-time tracking software and robotics to design and test the first closed-loop control system featuring a bioinspired robotic replica interacting in three dimensions with live zebrafish.

Credit: NYU

Researchers at New York University (NYU) have utilized advanced real-time tracking software and robotics to design and test the first closed-loop control system featuring a bioinspired robotic replica interacting in three dimensions with live zebrafish.

The system lets the replica "see" and mimic the behavior of the zebrafish in real time, and the team tested interaction under different experimental conditions.

In all cases, the replica and the fish were separated by a transparent panel. In preference tests, the zebrafish showed greater affinity and no anxiety or fear toward a robot that mirrored its own behavior, compared to a robot that followed a pre-set pattern of swimming.

"This is the baseline for the types of interactions we're hoping to build between animals and robots," says NYU professor Maurizio Porfiri.

The researchers next will study social interactions among live zebrafish to better understand their natural cues and responses, and then apply their findings to the robotic replicas.

From New York University
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