Air Swimmers give a new meaning to 'flying fish'


August 12, 2011

Air Swimmers are remote-control model fish, that swim through the air

Air Swimmers are remote-control model fish, that swim through the air

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Should someone tell you "Last night, I saw a great white shark swimming through my living room," don't assume that they're crazy. It could be that what they saw was an Air Swimmer. The remote-control toys (which are available as a shark or a clown fish) are able to swim through the air, turning, diving and climbing on command. Now all we need is an RC model penguin, that flies underwater.

The Air Swimmers' bodies are mylar balloons that the user fills with helium, much like the RC blimps and flying saucers already on the market. While those models move using propellers, however, the Air Swimmers actually move through the air by swishing their tails from side to side. The user controls the tail movements using an infrared remote control unit - alternating left-right swishes move the fish straight forward, while more swishes on one side or the other turn them left or right.

When first setting up the Air Swimmers, users insert some included putty into the control pod, located on the underside of each fish. They adjust the amount of putty until its weight is such that the model is neutrally buoyant, neither falling to the floor nor rising to the ceiling. When the fish is flying, a button on the remote causes the pod to slide forward or rearward on an attached plastic track. Moving it forward causes the model to dive, while moving it back causes the model to climb.

Air Swimmers are available online, at a price of $US39.99 each. They require one AAA battery for the pod, and three for the IR controller.

Here's a look at them in action:

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

We should put a hundred of these creatures into a shopping mall.

David Wong

This is a disaster.

Helium resources are pretty much finite. Every time some grotty little child releases a helium balloon, we lose more of it to Space. Please stop making stuff like this!

Lawrence Smallman

Ha ha... Then they could make the next part of JAWS movie series


This is wonderful! These could be mounted with cameras for surveillance, and do a lot of things, besides also being lots of fun! And for Lawrence Smallman who is scared of Helium being depleted, this is for you: as soon as Natural Gas is depleted, so will Helium, so there isn\'t much to worry about (natural gas contains about 7 percent Helium).


Its very nice, however not exactly an ideal use of helium... Same with those bloody blimps...

@chinna Helium is finite... like u mentioned, its refined from natural gas which just has 7% of it, and unlike most gas, it is unrecoverable once you release it in the air...

Nardo Penduko

Trippy - really trippy. I'd hate to be doing acid and have one of these sharks cruise into the kind of dark room. Too much. Except for the really really stupid waste of helium, it's a great idea tho. Should go back to hydrogen and oxygen mixes... That would REALLY frighten them.

Mr Stiffy

A company called Festo kicked this off a few years ago with a life-sized underwater penguin robot and also air penguins and jellyfish, which they exhibited at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition in London in 2010 - very cool!


@Smallman: time to invest in Helium futures, 5 year contracts. The price will begin to skyrocket when helium production starts to reduce supply vs. demand. The major source of helium is natural gas, but storage seems to be the problem:

\"The Future In 1996, the United States government proposed that the government-funded storage program for helium be halted. This has many scientists worried. They point out that helium is essentially a waste product of natural gas processing, and without a government storage facility, most of the helium will simply be vented into the atmosphere, where it will escape into space and be lost forever. Some scientists predict that if this happens, the known reserves of helium on Earth may be depleted by the year 2015. Through 2004-2006, both helium consumption and the costs of producing helium increased. In the 2002 to 2007 period helium prices doubled, and during 2008 alone the major suppliers raised prices about 50%.\" Various internet sources, incl Wikipedia.


All it needed was the them from Jaws playing at the elevator door before it opened. Bet that would have made that step back more or a jump.

The reason the helium storage was even started was to have a secure source pre WW2 for airships instead of using hydrogen. And you might find that the helium used to fill one modern commercial blimp adds up to more than the helium that will be used for all of these fish being sold. And they inflate and deflate airship quite regularly for storage and transportation. You guys are complaining about burning a match when there are multiple volcanoes out there doing a wee bit more.

Facebook User

clever - changing: the center of gravity to get a nose up or down attitude, and then using the thrust of the tail to go up or down - very nice idea!

Simon Gray

where can we purchase these?

Jim Jensen

If they put autonomous controls on a bunch of these, they could turn any large building interior into a walk-in aquarium.


how long does the helium last in these fishes ?

Ross Malpas

that video was hilarious. anyways, it\'s nice to see people are aware of the helium crisis. however there are still more people out there who know who snooki is then there are people who know about the helium crisis. it\'s used in a lot of very important industries such as the production of medicine and lcd screens and a lot more.

Samantha Renault

the airswimmersworld website shows you how to mod them. I modded my clownfish to do a power thrust when racing haha

Cody Lewis

Can anyone tell me how to turn on controller for remote control flying shark. The instructions says turn on BOTH the Pod,and the controller, but there is no on button. What am I miussing ,Please

Dave Andrews
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