Anyone who has ever owned an aquarium full of fish knows that they aren't the low maintenance pets everyone thinks they are. But now, for the truly lazy would-be pet owner, it appears the age of realistic robotic pets as depicted in Blade Runner has finally arrived.
At first glance, motionless and out of water, Takara Tomy's Robofish appear to be nothing more than cheap fish replicas. But slap a battery in several of the units, place them in water and you'll be startled by how realistic the Robofish appear. The randomized movements of the fish mimic the way real fish swim, eat, and even gather into schools of fish. Each Robofish is powered by two lithium-ion watch batteries which drive the unit's tail movements.
Perhaps the only shortcoming of the robotic fish is that from a distance they look completely realistic, but when you take a closer look, their artificial construction is obvious. But these are early days, and with just a little cosmetic tweaking, these things will probably fool casual observers in the very near future.
Unveiled at the International Toy Show in Tokyo earlier this year, the Robofish are selling for about $37 per fish, and you can see them in action in the video below.