Just like Star Trek, but a little less fancy: Behavioral teleporting of live zebrafish

Mert Karakaya, Simone Macrì, Maurizio Porfiri

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


Zebrafish is a popular animal model for behavioral, neurological, and pharmacological studies. Particularly enticing is the possibility of studying the underpinnings of social behavior through hypotheses-driven experiments where we systematically intervene on key experimental variables. Robots offer an ideal avenue for performing such experimental manipulations, by affording the creation of highly-controlled, versatile, and customizable stimuli. Within this domain of investigation, we explore the possibility of using robots to "teleport"zebrafish from a tank to the other. More concretely, we propose the development of inanimate robots that allow remotely- located zebrafish to interact with each other in real time by mirroring movement of live fish. Each of the systems consists of a two-dimensional robotic platform, a magnetically- connected replica, a circular tank, and an overhead camera. A real-time tracking software is established to track fish and robots and afford behavioral teleporting. In a series of preliminary experiments, we examine the appraisal of the teleported zebrafish by the live animal and explore the potential use of the approach to study the basis of leadership and conduct unprecedented studies on drug administration. Behavioral analysis shows that behavioral teleporting is a viable strategy to afford remote interactions between zebrafish, laying the foundations for a new area of exploration in behavioral, neurological, and pharmacological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XI
EditorsAkhlesh Lakhtakia, Mato Knez, Raul J. Martin-Palma
ISBN (Electronic)9781510640016
StatePublished - 2021
EventBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XI 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Mar 22 2021Mar 26 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication XI 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Real-time tracking
  • Robotics
  • Social behavior
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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