On Apr 25, 10:05 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Curt Welch) wrote:
Did you follow the link to the flying manta ray?
I at one time thought I'd like to make helium floating fish, with
solar power which I would release in a large mall atrium. I wondered
if the management would adopt them, or clean them out as soon as they
could. Anyway, from my pipe-dream to someone else's reality. Their
inventions are nice!
I really find myself attracted to the idea of building robots and releasing
them into the wild. I would want them to have a good chance of long term
survival however (years at least).
The idea of a floating fish-bot in a closed mall which did nothing other
than "swim" around and try to avoid hitting things (which would also cause
it to try and stay away from anyone trying to catch it), sounds
fascinating. The idea of a mall filled with 100's of them turning the mall
into a big robot aquarium are even more fascinating. Who wouldn't want to
visit the mall to see that? If you could create the bots, you could
probably tour the country putting them on display in different locations
It seems however that maintaining their ability to float would be hard. Can
you build a helium balloon which could last weeks or months without being
On Apr 27, 4:07 pm, email@example.com (Curt Welch) wrote:
I had similar thoughts about the helium fish. I figured I could use
water as ballast, which would be released to maintain neutral
buoyancy. I though if water were sprayed out, in a fine mist, that
this would be an acceptable way to dumb ballast. But perhaps we are
making it too hard. Just manually adjusting ballast once a day may be
Recharging batteries on a regular basis is another task. Ideally, as
a robot, it would find its own charging station. Perhaps a few areas
at the ceiling can be made so that the fish can go there to "feed" by
simply swimming up to it and making contact with antenna-like
devices. They spend the day just swimming until they detect a low
battery, and then seek the nearest recharging station.
I doubt it would be viable to have hundreds of fish. Each fist would
be a minimum of 3 or 4 feet long. You don't want to crowd them too
For a school of small fish, perhaps it is best to make them as a
single blimp, with the small fish hanging from a larger blimp like a
mobile. (if you put a weight in the nose of the fish, and then hang
it from just behind the weight, the fish will act like a wind vain and
follow the direction of travel)
Finding it's own "food" would be highly important for any type of robot I
would set loose in the world with the desire to survive.
I can't help but think how cool it would be to make a robot smart enough to
wonder around the world, avoid being caught, but be smart enough to find
electrical outlets to charge itself with. :)
The same would be cool if the "fish" were smart enough to swim down and
find outlets to plug into if you couldn't get enough power from sunlight so
that you wouldn't have to install special power stations for them to dock
Well, in a large mall, one with 100+ stores, that's just 1 fish per store
on average - not all that crowded - just very "busy" with fish. If you
only had something like 10 fish, people would have to run around looking
for them before they would find one. It would all depend on how big the
location was and how big the fish had to be to carry their hardware. Just
one would still be cool.
On Apr 27, 10:55 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org (Curt Welch) wrote:
In my dreams, the fish would be a little overly bouyant, so lacking
power to swim down, they'd all collect at the top of the skylight in
the mall. That should put them well out of mangements hands. Then when
they had recharged from the direct light, they'd take a swim down into
the center of things, but not too close to edges or floor.
Might not be practical, as cooling at night might have opposite
Probably need a compressed tank to replace lost helium.
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