Koi Fish Coffee Table

This project is going to be a installation for the size about a side table/coffee table. The top of the installation would be in glass/clear acylic where things can be put on like a real coffee table.

The table installation would be able to interact with different objects been put on the table based on the temperature. The koi fish would swim in a random pattern (similar to a real koi fish). When someone sits at the table and put something on the table top, if the thing is hot like coffee or tea, the koi fish will swim away from the object. If the thing is cold, like soda or snacks, the koi fish will swim towards the project, and swim around for a while.

Personally, I am very fond of the east asian style gardens (Chinese and Japanese). The project is to make the living room more interesting for people that doesn’t have enought space or time to take care of a koi pond garden. Kind of like the idea of karesansui,the Japanese Zen Garden, which is very artistic and easier to take care of. In the modern urban settings, it is really hard to have a big enough tank/pond body of water for actual koi fishes. However, a koi pond that does not require water or big space would be ideal.



  • 2 or 3 stepper motor (maybe more)
  • Some non real koi fish (Wood carved would be awesome, 3D printed is also acceptable I think)
  • A couple of timing belts (or one really long one), and pulleys
  • tiny camera/IR camera for tempertature detection/ Motion Detector?
  • Some white sand (For appearence, not super necessary for mechanical part)
  • A couple of strong magnets
  • I might need more things but I can’t think of it right now….
  • (basically it is the x and y axis for a 3d printer/laser cutter)



  •  I need software to work with the camera to read temperature
  • I need some library to work with the stepper motor


Order of Construction and Testing:

  1. Make the stepper motor work
  2. Figure out how to detect temperature
  3. Construct the table with 8020
  4. Install the stepper motor and timing belt to test
  5. Make the servo work and behaves like a koi fish
  6. Install magnets and stick the koi on the moving part
  7. Make the table look like an actual aquarium/pond
  8. Work with a couple of servos to make koi more realistic

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