Pepper the Parrot provided unique inspiration for Andrew Gray, a University of Florida electrical- and computer-engineering graduate student. Wired Magazine reported recently on Gray and his “pet project”.
His parrot (appropriately enough an African “Grey”) is garrulous to the point of being ear splitting, when left alone. A previous attempt to apply an engineering solution to the problem – a sound activated water gun intended to provide a little negative reinforcement by squirting the squawker – backfired when Pepper decided he liked his sound activated bird bath. He also became comfortable with a sound activated noisemaker intended to startle him into silence.
Gray reasoned that a bird beak occupied is a bird beak silenced, and the third time was the charm: a joystick operated (by the parrot!), open-loop, two wheel drive, tri-cycle platform powered by a 12v battery and controlled by a microcontroller.
Check out the video below and check out the project specs at Gray’s Bird Buggy site.