Authenticity happens to be a significant trait for every animal including the zebrafish. The fact was noticed more seriously by a research team that was recently working at the NYU Tandon School Of Engineering, the noticed that zebrafishes showed better response to their robotic replicas as compared to any other stimuli. The team working on this project was headed by Maurizio Porfiri, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor who developed a customizable and controllable robotic platform for a better study of freshwater fish behaviour. The robotic platform moves these biologically inspired robotic replicas like a puppet masters. The 3-D printed models mimic the swimming path of the original fish.
Biologically, zebrafishes are more versatile and like to imitate complex behaviour patterns of higher level animals. An understanding of social behaviour of these animals will help the researchers in exploring mechanisms that are responsible for human behaviour disorders like autism, schizophrenia, addiction, and anxiety. To conduct this test, Porfiri and his team introduced a live zebra fish in the center of a three-part tank that had robotic fish in it and a vacant segment on the other side.The researchers compared the response of this alive fish with its replica in motion and another one that was static, the second test was done against transparent and static replica. The results showed that this fish was more allured towards the robot that imitated both motion and appearance of alive fish. When either of those differed the attraction was completely lost.
Porfiri says, “The fish, when presented with the choice between a static robot and one that was moving in 3D and beating its tail, preferred to spend time with the latter. This clarifies the important role motion plays in influencing zebrafish behavior. These experiments also significantly refined the robotic platform that enables consistent, repeatable tests with our live subjects.”
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