Tidal by Google X: Watch hundreds of fish faces tracked at once

Chris Burns - Mar 2, 2020, 12:54pm CST
Tidal by Google X: Watch hundreds of fish faces tracked at once

The folks at X, a moonshot company builder, from the folks at Alphabet (who also run Google), made a group called Tidal. This group is different from that of the Tidal you might know from music streaming services – this one’s all about fish. It’s about tracking fish, working with machine perception to identify how fish are feeding!

The video you’ll see below, a bunch of fish faces appear in boxes. This is an interpretation of what the computer sees and calculates, courtesy of the work done at Tidal. This is just a glimpse of what the computer does – it’s very similar to what you’ll see in a modern smartphone tracking a human face – it’s built with very similar tech.

NOTE: The original file shared by Tidal was an animated gif image – this is the same imagery turned into a video file for less monstrous size in hosting via YouTube. The gif is repeated a few times for your convenience. Look at those fishies go!

Per Tidal, “we’ve developed an underwater camera system and a set of machine perception tools that can detect and interpret fish behaviors not visible to the human eye.” Can you imagine even keeping track of a single one of these fish, much less the masses shown in the imagery above? This is beyond the capabilities of a human alone.

“Our software can track and monitor thousands of individual fish over time, observe and log fish behaviors like eating, and collect environmental information like temperature and oxygen levels,” said a Tidal representative. “This kind of information gives farmers the ability to track the health of their fish and make smarter decisions about how to manage the pens — like how much food to put in the pens, which we hope can help reduce both costs and pollution.”

Using the tech they’ve begun developing here, Tidal is already rolling into solutions for fish farmers. Per Tidal General Manager Neil Davé, as they validate their tech, they’ll be working in “other fields and problems.” They’ll focus on the ocean, and they’ll need some help – you can check them out over at Google X via Alphabet.


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