Robocarp, the future of pond enforcement

Japanese researchers have unveiled the latest in a line of robot fish, a koi carp. The 80-centimetre, 12kg cyber-fish cost the researchers $255,000 to develop.

Robocarp, as it has been affectionately dubbed, uses realistic tail movements to swim, dive and surface.

Robocarp’s manufacturer Ryomei Giken, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary based in Hiroshima, has been studying bionic fish since 1999. Previous models include a sea bream and a coelacanth.

Fitted with a camera and sensors on its head, researchers hope Robocarp will eventually be able to do underwater environmental studies. One of the sensors monitors levels of oxygen in the water, essential to the health of its real-life cousins. Its fish-food of choice is rechargeable batteries, which last around an hour.

“We hope to develop the robot so it can research live fish as it is unlikely to scare them away and will be able to swim along with them,” said project leader Tetsuo Ichikizaki.

Ryomei Giken said it has no plans to market Robocarp at the moment, but it is willing to create new ones if demand exists for them.