Real fish find robotic one attractive

When we all become mindless automatons following around a mechanical leader, we may look back on an innocent-sounding robotic fish experiment playing out today as the beginning of the end.

A team of U.S. and Italian researchers report they’ve successfully attracted individual and shoals of live zebrafish to cluster around a robot built to resemble a fertile female of their own kind, with biologically appealing stripes and coloring.

The feat is the latest milestone on a path to using autonomous robots in an open body of water to monitor and control fish behavior in order to protect them, according to the team.