Hans Forsberg’s yard is home to a flock of Wild Magpies, and for a long time, they were just trouble that kept attempting to break into his outdoor lanterns.
But where many people will think of how to get rid of them, Hans thought he could save his lanterns and put the birds’ instincts of collection to use.
Fortunately, Hans’ day job involves artificial intelligence and robotics, so the idea of hacking together a highly complex bird vending machine sounded fun.
He used a Raspberry Pi as the base for the project, an inexpensive computer prized by hackers.
The basic proposition is pretty simple: the birds drop a bottle cap into the hole, a metal detector takes note, and food drops out of a chute.
For obvious reasons, engineering, programming, and training of the birds are required before making it all work effectively.
It serves for multiple purposes; bottle caps lying here and there add up to the waste, and collecting them could put them to re-use effectively. And it doesn’t even stop here; he is planning on programming his built bird feeder to work with being paid with other things such as cigarette buds and rotting apples and more.
He will involve widely available bits of trash, like cigarette butts, to teach the magpies to collect. Such items are more difficult to verify automatically, unlike the bottle caps, which work by triggering the metal detector.
It’s a pretty unique awesome, and nerdy project and proves how smart birds actually can be.