Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Flying robot fish

Like a little air-going submarines
  (+22, -2)(+22, -2)(+22, -2)
(+22, -2)
  [vote for,

A small mechanical goldfish, which not only weighs almost nothing, but also contains helium tanks allowing it to float in the air, and a compressed helium supply that lets it rise and sink at will.

These fish will float around your home, take no effort to clean the water, and get in the oddest places.

It recharges by drinking from a compressed helium supply under the sofa.

sadie, Sep 19 2002

RC Blimp http://www.smallart...ry/Blimp/Blimp.html
Definitely not for household use, but note the ratio of gas bag size to onboard equipment. Maybe if you made the gas bag the goldfish, and hid the robot parts in the lower fin. [DrCurry, Sep 19 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Tiny RC dirigibles http://www.angelfir...rties/draganfly.htm
Just remodel the envelope to a fish shape ... [8th of 7, Sep 27 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Air Swimmers http://www.inewidea...053.html#more-37053
Balloon fishes that can swim in the air—filled with helium and controlled by a remote control. [xaviergisz, Mar 14 2011]

fishy http://rucool.marin...tgers.edu/atlantic/
[normzone, Mar 15 2011]


       a goldfish with no water? ok. why not expand to other creatures, such as birds. The only issue I see (other than technical, how does it work and know where to feed) is that you would have to keep windows and doors closed.
rbl, Sep 19 2002

       Sounds like a tiny version of the little untethered robotic airships they had in the Milennium Dome.   

       Helium is expensive so I think you'd need some other form of propulsion, but croissant for the idea.
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002

       it would, of course, be ludicrously expensive. for that money you get some clever electronics that knows where the boundaries of your house are, etc. with just a couple of pins, the chip need not weigh any more than a sliver of silicon, leaving lots of space in the fish for buoyant gas tanks.   

       I suppose a home compressed hydrogen producer is an option?
sadie, Sep 19 2002

       Hydrogen would be fine and as the buoyancy tank is unpressurised (well, depending if it were a balloon or not, maybe slightly) and in small volumes there isn't even much of a fire hazard, so yes, you could do that. Low pressure hydrogen in small quantities can be easily produced by electrolysis.   

       The mass of the propulsion/guidance system is going to have to be really tiny, though - just a few grammes at most. Maybe photovoltaics could compensate for onboard power storage.   

       Ballast control for altitude is more of a problem.
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002

       // photovoltaics could compensate for onboard power storage. //   

       Excellent idea! That way we don't need to keep any heavy batteries on board, at the slight cost that it will only swim when the lights are on. At night it will just sit there.   

       Ballast control doesn't need to be astonishingly accurate. It would rise by releasing a little compressed hydrogen into the main balloon, and it would sink by opening its gills and letting a little out of the balloon.   

       Thinking about pins... 1. rise (open valve) 2. sink (open gills) 3. steer left 4. steer right 5. open mouth to drink
sadie, Sep 19 2002

       For a housebound flying robot, even a small one, you're much better off giving it helicopter rotors, even if that will use up the batteries faster. The amount of helium (or hydogen) required to lift even a small robot would lead to a very bloated blimp better suited to oudoor use. (Just try some experiments with a helium balloon.)
DrCurry, Sep 19 2002

       I'm going to enjoy visiting sadie next, and talking in squeeky high voices all day.. ;op
yamahito, Sep 19 2002

       is that part of your costume, yama?
sadie, Sep 20 2002

       good doctor Curry, you'd prefer little chunks chipped out of your walls in random places & shredded house plants? my vote is for the micro-hindenburg.
industrial, Sep 20 2002

       I've told you, I'll do it if you will, sadie.
yamahito, Sep 20 2002

XSarenkaX, Sep 20 2002

       This is a very cool idea. You could make your house a surrealist painting, with fish swimming everywhere.
monkeywidget, Jan 22 2004

       Microfibers on the exterior could dust cobwebs away, larger versions could wash the windows, pick up garbage/laundry/dishes/toys. No problems going up/down stairs, or reaching up high.
WhiteWiz, Mar 25 2004

       Hmmm. I can see one or two of these things floating around no problem. But // fish swimming everywhere //, burping up hydrogen (or helium)? Sounds like a series of eye injuries followed by either asphyxiation or explosion, or both.   

       But it would be a beautiful death, so [+].
junglefish, Mar 18 2005

       You could give it a small nitrogen bladder to simulate the waste process and it could "visit" each of your houseplants and fertilize them too.
Half-Wit Sage, Mar 18 2005

       //Hydrogen ...in small volumes there isn't even much of a fire hazard // When I was at school, for open evenings demos, we used to fill small toy balloons with hydrogen, tape them to the end of a long window pole, and hold them over a bunsen flame. The bang was very satisfying, even from a balloon that was barely capable of floating on its own.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 18 2005

       I love it.
DesertFox, Mar 18 2005

       Would be incredibly cool if you could program in school-of-fish behavior for a bunch of them. One could do up a toy dirigible to look like a shark, and use it to send them all fleeing to the den en masse.
Soterios, Mar 18 2005

       Nice link [xg]. I thought of this idea a couple decades ago, for office building atriums...   

FlyingToaster, Mar 14 2011

       needs less helium and more hydrogen: helium is getting scarce.
Voice, Mar 14 2011


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