Dutch designers have built a prototype 'car' for fish. Equipped with a webcam, micro-computer and motorized wheels, the mobile fish tank utilizes computer vision technology to track its fish driver's movements to get around. Jim Drury reports.
STORY: It's called 'Fish on Wheels' and it's exactly that...a car of sorts, designed to be driven.... by fish. A webcam monitors the driver's movements. Software analyses the image and automatically steers the tank relative to his or her location. And while it might look fishy, Thomas De Wolf of design firm Studio Diip, says the odd creation shows the promise of interactive computer vision technology. SOUNDBITE (English), STUDIO DIIP CO-FOUNDER, THOMAS DE WOLF, SAYING: "We built it in a mobile platform, so it runs on battery power and it's a small computer there, there is camera in there, so it's pretty new to do that all, only lately technology is so advanced that it can run on so little power with so much effect, so that's definitely new, combining those things." Whether this swimming driver knows he's in charge of a vehicle isn't clear. Goldfish are famously said to have a memory of just three seconds. But de Wolf says the project has serious applications, insisting that advances in computer vision technology could help designers cast their net wide for new products. SOUNDBITE (English), STUDIO DIIP CO-FOUNDER, THOMAS DE WOLF, SAYING: "With computer vision you can interact with systems in a very logical way, because that is also how humans interact with each ot her, we see things, body language is about ninety percent of all language, so if we are able to do that with cameras and systems, I think at the end we can create products that are really more natural to interact with at the end." A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to market the device. Take up has proved disappointing so far, but de Wolf and fellow designer Guust Hilte are already onto their next project....saying they have bigger fish to fry.