Terranaut - Fish Explore Land With Robotic Vehicle

First time on land? Terranaut, the robotic exploration vehicle art project by Seth Weiner, is definitely the way to go.

(Terranaut robotic vehicle helps fish explore land)

A Blood Parrot fish gets his first taste of life on land, wheeling around in this luxurious fishbowl-on-wheels. A camera mounted above the tank captures a stream of images; this information is worked over by the onboard computer. Finally, the direction of motion is determined and the wheels move in the direction that the fish is swimming.

(Terranaut II by Seth Weiner)

Very cool project. Thinking in a science-fictional frame of mind (which I do a lot), I'm thinking about helpful aliens coming to Earth about 500 million years ago, and giving fish the kind of on-land experience that pointed the way for all of us air-breathers and land-walkers that came later...

I love giving the "lower" species this kind of enriching experience. See Cockroach-Controlled Mobile Robot created by Garnet Hertz for a terrific example.

Udpate 23-Sep-2006: Check out the comments on the Orz, alien fish in an sf-style game from the mid 1990's.

Update 20-Dec-2015

Vernor Vinge wrote about a strange race in his 1992 novel A Fire Upon the Deep:

Ravna looked across the surf. When the waves backed down the sand, she could see the Skroderiders' fronds peeping out of the spray... They sat in the surf, thinking thoughts that left no imprint on their minds...

Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out." Someone had put them on mobile platforms, the skrodes. With wheels they could move along the seashores, could reach and manipulate with their fronds and tendrils. With the skrode's mechanical short-term memory, they could learn fast enough that their new mobility would not kill them...

End update.

From communist robot via Armchair Anarchist.

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