How do you appease a 10-year-old parrot with clipped wings, a loud mouth, and separation anxiety? Give the intelligent bird a way to get around the house so it can follow you, of course.
That's exactly what Andrew Gray -- a retired Navy officer currently pursuing his master's in engineering at the University of Florida -- created for his beloved family parrot, Pepper. Gray invented the Bird Buggy, a robotic vehicle with two-wheel drive that the parrot can perch on and drive around freely so it can tag behind people and not feel lonely. No kidding.
To drive the battery-powered Bird Buggy, Pepper merely needs to clench a joystick with his beak and move it in whatever direction the bird desires. The joystick controls an elaborate setup under the hood, which contains a wireless controller, small motors, bump sensors, micro controllers, circuit boards, and many other components that ensure a smooth ride.
The Bird Buggy gets around on two heavy-duty miniature all terrain wheels with support from rear wheels that move in any direction -- meaning the vehicle can turn in any direction, too.
Gray programmed his own software that utilizes the built-in IR sensor and camera to divert the Buggy from crashing into things. The sensors and software also autonomously return the vehicle to a base station when someone removes the parrot from its perch.
The best part? When the bird poops, there's a tray underneath with newspaper to catch it, as well.
For more Bird Buggy action, watch this amusing video of Pepper trying to learn how to turn right during the teaching phase of the project, or read a more detailed report about the vehicle.
(Via Reddit Videos)