Bionic Robotic Fish Developed by Taipei Tech to be Featured in New Pili Puppet Movie

Taipei Tech Chair Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Leehter Yao, and his research team collaborated with Pili International Multimedia to develop the bionic robotic fish used in the new Pili puppet movie, “DEMIGOD: The Legend Begins”. The bionic robotic fish, which featured as the “golden fish” in the movie, will also be displayed at the film exhibition at ATT eLife to showcase the latest product of this academia-industry cooperation.

Yao indicated that the simulation technology is a collective achievement of both Taipei Tech, a university with over a century long legacy, and glove puppetry, a local entertainment art also with over a century long history. He further noted that fish is one of the most important subjects to be studied in bionics with its high propulsion, propulsion efficiency and excellent swimming performance. 

To design the robotic fish, first, the research team spent a great amount of time documenting the swimming performance and collecting massive amount of movement data of real fish. Afterwards, they utilized AI technology and program coding to control the motor of the robotic fish. Then, the team spent a year to make adjustment and changes on the robotic fish in order to make it swim naturally like a real fish. 

During the designing process, the Pili International Multimedia team suggested to add a “cloth” on the fish with fish skin and fish scale to make it more lifelike, and they have also come up with the idea to use magnet to stick the fish scale on the body of the robotic fish. Taiwan Textile Research Institute and Black-Duck International Co., LTD both joined the brainstorming and production process to ultimately finish the final look of the golden fish onscreen.   

Yao pointed out that the robotic fish is a successful demonstration of cross-disciplinary and cross-industry exchange. “The robotic fish is not only useful for biological research, but it can also be used to carry out underwater operation and examination of water quality” said Yao.