It turns out, a goldfish is not a lost cause after all, as scientists teach the aquatic species how to drive.
Teaching a Goldfish How to Drive; is it Possible?
Some animals are known to possess surprising abilities. Rats, for example, can drive their own little cars and use them to go into desired places.
An experiment has been conducted to test if rats and the likes are the only privileged animals who can drive.
In a study conducted by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a team of researchers taught goldfish to drive a tiny land vehicle.
Together with their published article, they also mentioned the how's and navigational skills goldfish displayed.
How Scientists Taught Goldfish to Drive
As part of their experiment, their methodology in finding out if goldfish can be taught to drive involved building a fish-operated vehicle or FOV, which is simply made out of a fish tank mounted on wheels.
The team also installed a pole-mounted camera, processor, and a LIDAR system aimed down directly at the aquatic species in its tailored fish-operated vehicle.
The LIDAR system and camera technology determine where the goldfish is in the vehicle, how it is oriented, and where the tank is positioned in relation to its environment.
Then, the data collected by the processor was used to indicate the direction in which to move the fish-operated vehicle.
Now, when the test fish pointed itself in a targeted direction, the FOV will automatically drive towards that direction.
Take a look at how it works from a Tweet by one of the researchers.
I am excited to share a new study led by Shachar Givon & @MatanSamina w/ Ohad Ben Shahar: Goldfish can learn to navigate a small robotic vehicle on land. We trained goldfish to drive a wheeled platform that reacts to the fish’s movement (https://t.co/ZR59Hu9sib). pic.twitter.com/J5BkuGlZ34— Ronen Segev (@ronen_segev) January 3, 2022
Following this, the researchers allowed the goldfish to wander in its little fish tank in random motions so they could observe and note how its actions are affecting the movement of the fish-operated vehicle.
Once the fish reached the targets, they would be immediately rewarded with food.
As the researchers analyzed the goldfish's behavior over time, they found that the fish increasingly realized its actions could positively affect the fish-operated vehicle, ultimately leading them to tasty treats.
The team changed the environment for a more exciting route and to observe further.
After modifying the environment, the goldfish was forced to drive its little vehicle around indoor and outdoor arenas that go under changing targets and obstacles to challenge it.
In the experiment, scientists found that goldfish had no problem adapting. The fish would speed right to its reward in every varying environment, demonstrating that it could navigate to its desired location by using the fish-operated vehicle.
Why Teach Goldfish How to Drive?
A major goal of the researcher's work was to gain a better understanding of navigational skills in general.
Specifically, they wanted to determine if goldfish, like other creatures, could transfer a set of navigational skills between different environments through domain-transfer mechanisms.
Aside from targeting their main goal, they were also successful in teaching goldfish how to drive in their little vehicles-a step towards exploring different skills harbored by different animals.
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Written by Thea Felicity