Collective response of zebrafish to a mobile robotic fish

Sachit Butail, Tiziana Bartolini, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We investigate the response of groups of zebrafish, a model social organism, to a free-swimming robotic fish. The robot has a body and tail section and moves forward by beating the tail. Steering control is achieved by offsetting the beating tail with respect to the body. The color pattern and shape of the robot are informed by visual cues known to be preferred by zebrafish. A realtime multi-target tracking algorithm uses position and velocity estimates to autonomously maneuver the robot in circular trajectories. Observables of collective behavior are computed from the fish trajectory data to measure cohesiveness, polarization, and speed of the zebrafish group in two different experimental conditions. We show that while fish are significantly less polarized in the presence of the robot with an accompanying change in average speed, there is no significant change in the degree of cohesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAerial Vehicles; Aerospace Control; Alternative Energy; Automotive Control Systems; Battery Systems; Beams and Flexible Structures; Biologically-Inspired Control and its Applications;
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Print)9780791856123
StatePublished - 2013
EventASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2013 - Palo Alto, CA, United States
Duration: Oct 21 2013Oct 23 2013

Publication series

NameASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2013


OtherASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPalo Alto, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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