Design student creates device that allows fish to 'drive'
A Victoria University student from Wellington, New Zealand, has developed a device that allows his Siamese fighting fish to 'drive' the bowl they reside in.
A webcam tracks the fish's movement within the bowl and moves the multi-directional mobile fish tank accordingly. The experiment was designed to challenge the assumption that fish are stupid.
"It's like a land submarine and it's freed him from his bowl, but it's still kind of a pathetic existence," Adam Ben-Dror, the student behind the experiment, told Stuff.NZ.
Adam kick-started the experiment while on placement at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh but quarantine issues prevented him from bringing his best fish test drivers – Pedro and Jose – back to his home in New Zealand.
"Jose was the original star, he was a real champ - I taught him to jump out of the water, " explained Adam.
A further fish, Suzuki, wasn't quite as switched on but could still 'play' with other species such as people and dogs by 'driving' the tank towards them or mimicking movements.
Many people in the West still uphold the belief that goldfish have a three-second memory and in parts of Southeast Asia, goldfish were thought to live in puddles so were believed to be happy living in confined spaces, Adam said.
"They are often seen as being like a lava lamp that needs feeding," he added.
The experiment was designed to not only prove that fish are more intelligent than many believe but also question the interaction between human and aquatic pets.
"When you get your fish back from the pet store, no-one seems to value it and that applies to just more than fish - if you can commit to things more in life, you can appreciate what you have and you don't have to be hungry for more all the time," Adam philosophically added.