This robotic fishing lure can make dead fish swim again

The field of robotics is transforming how we deliver packages, how we raise our kids, and now the technology is poised to change how we fish. Let us introduce you to the Zombait, a robotic fish insert designed to bring dead fish bait back to life.

The principle behind Zombait fish is delightfully simplistic. You want to fish the big fish, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of live fish bait, a live well, and all that goes with it. So you turn to dead fish bait, but that is not as effective at catching fish because it doesn’t move in the water. It just floats lifeless on your line, which is not too enticing to the discriminating swordfish that you are trying to lure.

Enter Zombait, a waterproof, water-activated swimming robot that fits inside a dead fish. Just tie a fishing line to the Zombait lure, open the mouth of a dead fish to insert the Zombait, place the Zombait-equipped fish into the water to activate the swimming feature and go fishing. Once you catch your prize fish, you can retrieve the Zombait and use in the next bait fish. The Zombait includes rechargeable batteries that last two to three hours and can be easily recharged for longer fishing trips.

The Zombait started as a holiday dinner conversation when veteran fisherman Rink Varian mentioned the idea of making dead bait swim to robotics engineer Matthew Borowski. Borowski brought the idea to fellow engineer Jessy Cusak and the pair began the process of developing the Zombait fish using 3D printing and custom electronics. The Zombait has been tested in the lab in a homemade hyperbaric chamber and in the field by seasoned fisherman on the East Coast. It has been developed and tested on popular dead bait species including whiting, mackerel, herring, pogie, ocean perch, and ballyhoo. The team hopes to bring the technology to other bait species such as blue runners, mullet, pilchards, goggle eyes, hake, perch, jacks, and more.

Now all that’s left is funding to move the project from a tested prototype stage to the product’s first small-scale production. The team has turned to Kickstarter to help fund its goal of raising $27,000. If successful, the first Zombait lures are expected to ship by the end of 2016.

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