FIGURE 1 (Above) The
robotic fish, Commodore.
FIGURE 2 (Left)
Exposed view of
electronics, sensors, pitch
control, buoyancy control,
and robotic fish tail.
;Informal science education is the process of scientific learning that takes place outside of the classrooms and academic institutions [ 1, 2]. It is the most predominant form of learning across life- long education, is spontaneous in nature, and has practically unlimited opportunities [ 1, 2]. Informal
learning can occur through visits to museums and galleries,
participation in science festivals, and even watching
educational programs [ 1].
For visitors to informal science venues, robotics has
been shown to be an effective tool to elicit their interest,
as it often affords several elements of novelty [ 3]. Further,
robotics offers quick feedback for participants to test
new ideas or reinforce preexisting knowledge [ 4, 5].
Thus, a number of robotics-based exhibits, such as the
exploratory rover [ 6], robotic dolphin [ 7], and remotely-controlled miniature boats [ 8], have been designed to
increase visitors’ interest in robotics, while delivering
important topics in science, like space exploration [ 6] and
environmental mapping [ 8].
Biologically-inspired robotic fish have been found to be
particularly engaging [ 7, 9, 10], likely due to the additional
connections to the natural world they can offer [ 11]. Thus,
a few robotic fish exhibits have been deployed to engage
and educate visitors in public aquariums and expositions
[ 9, 10]. However, such exhibits are often limited in the level
of interactivity they afford, which is known to be a key
factor in informal science education [ 12, 13].