Closed-loop control of zebrafish response using a bioinspired robotic-fish in a preference test

Vladislav Kopman, Jeffrey Laut, Giovanni Polverino, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we study the response of zebrafish to a robotic-fish whose morphology and colour pattern are inspired by zebrafish. Experiments are conducted in a three-chambered instrumented water tank where a roboticfish is juxtaposed with an empty compartment, and the preference of live subjects is scored as the mean time spent in the vicinity of the tank's two lateral sides. The tail-beating of the robotic-fish is controlled in real-time based on feedback from fish motion to explore a spectrum of closed-loop systems, including proportional and integral controllers. Closed-loop control systems are complemented by open-loop strategies, wherein the tail-beat of the robotic-fish is independent of the fish motion. The preference space and the locomotory patterns of fish for each experimental condition are analysed and compared to understand the influence of real-time closed-loop control on zebrafish response. The results of this study show that zebrafish respond differently to the pattern of tail-beating motion executed by the robotic-fish. Specifically, the preference and behaviour of zebrafish depend on whether the robotic-fish tail-beating frequency is controlled as a function of fish motion and how such closed-loop control is implemented. & 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20120540
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number78
StatePublished - Jan 6 2013


  • Animal behaviour
  • Bioinspiration
  • Closed-loop control
  • Ethorobotics
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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