In the famous Danish fairytale, the Little Mermaid had to sacrifice her tongue, the ability to speak, and excruciating pain whenever she walk with her new-found legs in order to roam the land of the mortals, but in modern day, littler Walter, a pet goldfish, didn’t have to make bad dealings with the evil Sea Witch to roam where mortals roam – all thanks to a robot built by a group of friends for Build 18 at Carnegie Mellon University. Entitled “Just Keep Swimming,” this project saw the team design and built a driving base for a regular fish tank which enables its lone resident (in this case, Walter) to move around on solid ground like we and many animals do.
A webcam mounted overhead captures the fish movement inside the fish tank, passing on the images to an onboard Raspberry Pi which then translates them into driving direction for the vehicle. We can’t assume fishes feel like humans do, but if they did, I can imagine its excitement when it realized that it can actually go wherever it wants by the mere act of swimming within the tank. The center of the tank serves as the reference point which means if Walter swims forward, the fish tank-equipped driving base moves forward and if it swims to the left, the vehicle will turn left.
If you know anything about goldfish, or any fish for that matter, this aquatic animal will swim without plan or objective and so, as you can imagine, the vehicle’s movement does appeared to be on the erratic side. But hey, that was probably just Walter’s wishes. Anyways, like I’ve said, we ain’t no fish and therefore, I guess we will never know.
Go ahead and see how Walter is making Ariel green with envy.
Image: screengrab from YouTube video.