Robotic sea creatures capturing attention at Taipei science festival


TAIPEI–Life-like robotic sea creatures made from recycled objects were the center of attention at a science carnival in Taipei this weekend.

Children gathered around a pool at the National Taiwan Science Education Center on Saturday and Sunday to see the robotic sea creatures built by Japanese marine ecologist and educator Masamichi Hayashi.

Among the 18 creatures displayed were a dolphin, hammerhead shark, humpback whale, sea turtles, sea cows and other fish made from recycled objects ranging from styrofoam and plastic bottles to raincoats and windshield wipers.

A remote control guided the movements of these animals, which reach up to several meters long. They also swim and move like real sea animals.

“We hope the robotic sea creatures would help children learn more about sea animals and bring joy to them,” said Novia Lu, a marketing executive supervisor with Taiwan’s C&S Creation Ltd., which cooperated with Hayashi to create some of the creatures.

Hayashi, 52, began constructing robotic sea creatures 13 years ago after he heard a child wishing that all the garbage in the ocean could turn into fish, while he was recuperating on Japan’s Okinawa island after being treated for cancer, C&S Creation said.

The company invited Hayashi to visit Taiwan from Aug. 1-Sept. 16 to cooperate with local university students in creating sea creatures often seen in waters near Taiwan, Lu said. Some of these were displayed at the festival.