Japan unveils robotic fish 'companion'

MIRO in black (Airo)
MIRO in black (Airo)

The makers of a lifelike robotic fish say they hope to one day see it "cruising in the lakes, rivers, and eventually the oceans all around the world".

Japanese company Airo has just shown off its Marine Intelligent Robot, MIRO for short, at Tokyo Design Week.

"In the coming future, when you are alone at home, you will be able to make friends with MIRO, as a companion in the artistically crafted aquarium," the company's website reads.

Japan unveils robotic fish 'companion'

MIRO in blue (Airo)

The fish are remarkably lifelike in their movement, but the illusion is somewhat shattered once they're out of the water. Each fish is 53cm long and weighs 2.8kg - about the length of an average newborn baby, and only marginally lighter.

They're also rather sci-fi in appearance, with Airo offering five different-shaped skins - including goldfish, tropical fish and 'fancy carp' - as well about 200 varying paint jobs.

Waterproof down to 50m, MIRO can swim around on its own, using obstacle sensors to avoid immersion-destroying crashes - or can be controlled by radio, a smartphone or a tablet.

A five-hour charge gives owners 10 hours of fishy fun.

The company is promoting MIRO as an "artificial intelligence companion for a human".

New Zealand's own attempt at a robotic fish, the obviously named toy Robofish, doesn't pack quite that level of technology.

Nonetheless, the hit toy earned manufacturer Zuru's owners the Mowbray siblings enough money to buy the Coatesville mansion which once housed internet mogul Kim Dotcom.

More than 35 million Robofish have been sold since 2013.