fish sychronized behavior
In nature, schools of fish exhibit complex, synchronized behaviors without following a leader. Robotics is far behind.

The natural world abounds with self-organizing collectives, where large numbers of relatively simple agents use local interactions to produce impressive global behaviors.

Well-known examples include social insect colonies, bird flocks, and fish schools. Mathematicians and engineers have strived to understand the mapping from local interactions onto global behaviors and vice versa in a quest to understand natural collective intelligence.

Implicit coordination for 3D underwater collective behaviors in a fish-inspired robot swarm from Harvard

Now, Harvard researchers have developed fish-inspired robots that can synchronize their movements like a school of fish. The underwater robots, dubbed Blueswarm, have no external control.

Each underwater robot, called a Bluebot, is equipped with two cameras and three LED lights. The fisheye-lens cameras detect the LEDs of neighboring Bluebots and use a custom algorithm to determine their distance, direction, and heading.

It is the first time researchers have demonstrated complex 3D collective behaviors with implicit coordination in underwater robots.

How Arducam products end up being part of this exciting project

lee harvard swarm fish Florian Radhika
Lee, Arducam CEO, went to Harvard to witness the great works of Prof. Radhika and Florian

The onboard computer of each fish is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and the cameras are two  Pi Camera modules with wide-angle lenses. Using the position information calculated from the cameras, the school can coordinate its movements to spread out, group together, swim in a circle, or find an object and then converge on it. 

So here comes the question. We need two “fish eyes” or two Pi camera modules with fisheye lenses. However, the Raspberry Pi Zero W only comes with a single camera connector. This is where Arducam comes in with our multi-camera adapter solution.

2 channel arducam multi camera adapter fish swarm
Inside the fish, there is a Pi Zero, a 2-channel multi-camera adapter, and two Arducam Pi compatible cameras with Fisheye Lenses

This Arducam 2-channel multi-camera adapter is a shrink-down version of the 4-channel camera adapter that can mate well with the Raspberry Pi Zero W. It can switch between the two camera modules so we can acquire the field of two cameras on a single Raspberry Pi Zero.

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