Collective dynamics and model verification: Connecting kinetic modeling to data

Fish ‘n’ Robots: not a take-out food

Tiziana Bartolini

New York University


Engineering design of robots takes often inspiration by nature; recently developed bioinspired robots accurately imitate various aspects of their live counterparts. Yet, engineering and nature are strictly correlated, this relationship has often been one-directional: engineers borrow ideas from nature to build more efficient, more appealing, and better performing robotic systems for use in traditional human-centered applications. In some cases, robotic systems are used as surrogate to study natural systems, and they can be also integrated within the ‘ecological niche’ has previously inspired their design. Within the general research area of bioinspired design and biomimetics, the use of robots is emerging as a powerful tool to modulate and study animal behavior through bioinspired robotics. In this poster, we present research findings at the Dynamical System Laboratory of New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering on the feasibility of integrating robotic fish in experimental paradigms to investigate the behavior of social fish. We hypothesized that a robotic fish can be used to influence the behavior of social fish. Most of our researches are focus on the study of Zebrafish (Danio rerio), a pervasive animal model for the analysis of functional and dysfunctional processes. Through our research, we seek to address fundamental scientific questions in this new field of "ethorobotics", such as the feasibility of influencing fish behavioral response through robots, the consistency of this response, the determinants of attraction or repulsion toward a robotic fish, the role of hydrodynamic effects on interactions, the role of feedback from the robotic fish on animal response, and fish perception of a school of robotic fish. Ultimately, our research should lead to a robotic fish that could offer consistent, customizable, and controllable stimuli for modulating fish behavioral response.