“I had a small aquarium in my studio,” Moai industrial designer Yoon Hoon told Digital Trends. “The original idea was a webcam for aquariums, so you can monitor your aquarium while not at home. My partner and I came across the HAX hardware accelerator booth in MakerFaire Shenzhen and joined it in January 2015. They helped us develop the concept. We found that algae build-up is a pain point for most aquarium owners, and so decided to combine camera and cleaner together. The concept was born! We then spent two years traveling and visiting many aquariums in China, California, and Singapore to learn more about the aquarium industry while working on our prototypes in the factory. It took eight generations of prototypes but we’re finally satisfied, and pleased to have launched MOAI on Kickstarter.”
The device itself consists of two elements: One housing all the electronics for outside the tank and the other, with the cleaning element, for inside. These are connected by a magnet, so that as the outside part moves using its ultrasound navigation system, the inside part of your tank glass gets cleaned. The robot itself uses smart ultrasound sensing tech to map its way around the aquarium, while users can use the accompanying iOS or Android mobile app to mark out specific cleaning areas if they wish. This also means that you can set specific times for cleaning to take place, such as when you’re out at work — so your aquarium is ready to look its best whenever you’re around.
The camera offers 1080p filming, which then outputs an image to the same app, meaning that you can check in on your fishy friends no matter where you are in the world. It’s a nifty smart gadget and, provided it works as well as described, is totally something we could see ourselves using in our own fish tanks. Hey, pair this up with Fishbit — the smart device designed to monitor tank pH levels, salinity, ORP, temperature, and other tank conditions — and you’ve got yourself an entire robot aquarium ecosystem.
Moai is available to pre-order on Kickstarter for $199, with shipping set to take place next May.