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Collective Response of Zebrafish to a Mobile Robotic Fish

[+] Author Affiliations
Sachit Butail, Tiziana Bartolini, Maurizio Porfiri

Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Brooklyn, NY

Paper No. DSCC2013-3748, pp. V001T07A001; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference
  • Volume 1: Aerial Vehicles; Aerospace Control; Alternative Energy; Automotive Control Systems; Battery Systems; Beams and Flexible Structures; Biologically-Inspired Control and its Applications; Bio-Medical and Bio-Mechanical Systems; Biomedical Robots and Rehab; Bipeds and Locomotion; Control Design Methods for Adv. Powertrain Systems and Components; Control of Adv. Combustion Engines, Building Energy Systems, Mechanical Systems; Control, Monitoring, and Energy Harvesting of Vibratory Systems
  • Palo Alto, California, USA, October 21–23, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5612-3
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


We investigate the response of groups of zebrafish, a model social organism, to a free-swimming robotic fish. The robot has a body and tail section and moves forward by beating the tail. Steering control is achieved by offsetting the beating tail with respect to the body. The color pattern and shape of the robot are informed by visual cues known to be preferred by zebrafish. A real-time multi-target tracking algorithm uses position and velocity estimates to autonomously maneuver the robot in circular trajectories. Observables of collective behavior are computed from the fish trajectory data to measure cohesiveness, polarization, and speed of the zebrafish group in two different experimental conditions. We show that while fish are significantly less polarized in the presence of the robot with an accompanying change in average speed, there is no significant change in the degree of cohesion.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Robotics



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