FishFreedom Thesis Draft

A few thesis statement drafts:

FishFreedom is a device that gives pet fish mobility.

FishFreedom is a device that gives pet fish the ability to move their own environment.

FishFreedom is a response to the shackled nature of a traditional aquarium, giving pet fish the ability to control the movements of their environment.

FishFreedom is a device modeled after the “Hampster Ball” that gives fish the ability to traverse across a room.

FishFreedom is a mobile platform that allows a pet fish to control his movements across a room.

Using a webcam with color tracking software to provide navigation, two servo motors drive a vehicle that houses the fish tank and power supply. The webcam provides a constant feed of where the fish is located in the tank and drives the fish in the appropriate direction, giving the fish the ability to decide the direction and speed of the vehicle’s movements.


Big finding 1: Capturing the exact angle and movements of the fish’s position in the tank really isn’t as important as having smooth motion. Just seeing it move back and forward was such a magical kind of movement, enough that I didn’t even remember that I had wanted it to be precisely accurate.
Big finding 2: Getting the servo motors to work synchronously was much more difficult than I had assumed it would be. Through a series of several rebuilds of the car I’ve tried to realign the wheels and secure them with hot glue, but I still have had trouble getting them to match each others momentum. As far as I can tell it must be a mechanical issue, because I feed both motors the exact same code and yet one wheel always seems to be dominate and cause a turn when I try to do a straight line. Lately I’ve been trying to correct this via the code, and I think I’ve finally found a sweet spot that gives me a moderately straight line over the span of a few feet.


AirSwimmers: (Similar in that I’m trying to mimic the movements of fish. Different because I’m using an actual fish.) For a future iteration I’d like to build in a system that could actually emulate the swaying motion of fish’s fins.

HamsterBall: The main precedent because I went into the project wanting to make essentially the same thing only with a fish.

Project413: A hamster ball with a hacked motor system that allows wireless control of a mobile sphere.