A Japanese marine biologist and educator named Masamichi Hayashi has developed a new aspect of education. He has created some one hundred life-like, hand-made fish bots constructed from all kinds of recycled objects, including everything under the sun from discarded rainwear to windscreen wipers.
Japan is a country that is and always has been obsessed with fish. If in doubt, simply check out some of the novelty fish-inspired foods and items that the country produces every year. Still, these fish bots are a far cry from mundane novelty items, as their realistic renderings reveal Hayashi’s extensive and highly sophisticated knowledge of both robotics and sea creatures.
The fish robots mimic the swimming styles of the species on which they are modeled. Hayashi has replicated many diverse sea creatures, ranging from turtles to a 5-foot long replica of the prehistoric fish, coelacanth. All the fish bots operate via remote control and contain complex motors and inner workings. In some cases, Hayashi has outdone even himself, as a few of the larger fish bot models can open and close their mouths and eat artificial “prey”!
In an attempt to captivate the attention span and interest of school children, he made several videos documenting his amazing creations. His robotic fish are involved in a slew of rather bizarre and “unfishy” activities, such as gathering rubbish from the water and handing it to people on the shore.
While highly unusual, fish bots are neither brand new nor unique to Japan. In 2005, the London aquarium carried its own amalgam of intelligent robo-fish. The dynamic and mysterious nature of the sea is a constant source of interest to both children and adults.
Who knows how much more we can learn about the sea’s mysterious creatures from these hand crafted realistic fish bots?
Time alone will tell because no matter how smart they are, we can’t ask the fish!