New 3D simulator lets you swim with the farmed fishes

Published on
July 20, 2015

The aquaculture experience has turned digital thanks to a group of researchers and technologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Now, those interested in taking a tour of a salmon farm no longer have to travel or set foot on a boat to do so – they need only to strap on a pair of Oculus Rift 3D-goggles and grab an applicable video game controller to start exploring the ins and outs of the farmed fish world.

Partnering with Måsøval salmon farms in Frøya, Sør-Trøndelag, NTNU project members were able to create an effective aquaculture simulator, which they soon hope to develop further into what could become Norway’s first virtual breeding simulation program.

“We’re working on establishing a center around the simulator on Frøya, and have ambitions to develop Norway’s first aquaculture simulator for breeding,” said Monicha Seternes, head of environment and development for Måsøval fish farming industries, to World Fishing and Aquaculture.

By donning the Oculus goggles, a participant can make the rounds both above the water’s surface and below; swimming with the salmon, controlling the feeding machine, and inspecting the cage and its anchoring are all available functions within the simulator.

The simulator is part of an effort to promote the Norwegian fish farming industry, according to Seternes. When paired with a visit to an actual fish farm, it will provide inspectors, students and onlookers with a well-rounded conception of the myriad of components that combine to create an efficient aquaculture operation.

“Combined with an actual visit to a fish farm, a simulator like this will make it possible to experience a breeding cycle that usually takes 14-22 months in about 45 minutes. This is unique, and will give visitors a completely different view of our work than just a visit to a farm would,” Seternes said.

“We imagine that this simulator, which call the ‘mini-simulator’ will help with recruiting and building expertise, and make the audience curious enough to want to know more about this fantastic industry that we are a part of,” Seternes concluded.

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