Electric Goldfish Makes Waves In Robotics
Osaka, Japan, August 22, 2007 -- Engineers at Daikyo-Tonabayashi have confirmed the production of the first robot goldfish, years ahead of schedule. Recent developments in nanotechnology and the introduction of the Sentium microchip 80747 have made possible a breakthrough of extraordinary magnitude: a fully operational electronic tropical companion.
Exploiting the super miniaturization of silicon chips and the servo-motors of nano-engineering, D-T engineers revealed the GF-1 prototype today. In field trials with live goldfish even the Real McCoys couldn't tell the difference, although one engineer stipulated, "Of course, with goldfish, you can never really be sure what they're thinking."
"Using our modified slot-racer radio-controller we can mimic the actions of real fish. We can make the GF-1 rise and fall in the aquarium, swim in circles, open and close its mouth just like the others. This is most exciting!" comments Head Engineer Sumo Takayama.
Powered by a standard lithium ion wristwatch battery, the fish can swim 24 hours per day for about two years. This is seen as a substantial leg-up when compared to the typical life expectancy of about 16 months for live aquarium goldfish, with the added advantage that robotic fish never need feeding.
"We are confident we can ship in time for Christmas. Each fish should retail for about $19.95 US, with a discount for schools. Battery not supplied."
Despite the product's promise, a note of internal dissent was raised by the company's marketing department. "Why don't they ever consult the sales staff on these things?" complains Sales Manager Tani Kobayashi-Wellman at Daikyo's Houston based subsidiary. "I mean we could have told them kids don't want goldfish. Now, if they had made a piranha, that we could sell, but goldfish? I mean, maybe a carp."
Environmentalists, on the other had, are delighted with the technology's potential to take some pressure off the species, which in American college towns, particularly those with fraternity houses, is fast becoming rare and often endangered. "Now every pledge can wolf down an electronic GF-1 without worrying about the extinction of another of nature's finest," raves Jill Frithers, Citizens for a Better Earth Local Chapter Chairperson in Madison, Wisconsin.
Ominously, an aspect regarding which Daikyo-Tonabayashi have been tellingly reticent is the military potential of this technology. Retired Submarine Commander Jake "Ironhat" Wibscot, now Adjunct Professor of HydroDynamics at Stanford, was reached for comment:
"If you can mimic a minor species this perfectly, what's to prevent you from synthesizing a shark or a whale? Our SOSUS sonar nets in the Atlantic are programmed to recognize and ignore natural creatures like sharks and whales. A school of porpoises, electronically controlled by a foreign power, could approach the US coast and infiltrate the sub-pens in Maryland or the Pacific Fleet in San Diego without raising an alarm. It has the potential to make Pearl Harbour look like a fraternity house prank. This is a development the CIA and Navy Intel are sure to be watching, if we don't read about it in Popular Science first."
By Frumious, Avant News Staff Writer
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