Can crows be trained for cleaning using technology?

In this piece, they are attempting to train crows in the Netherlands to pick up cigarette filters from the streets in order to keep them clean. However, if successful, it could potentially be applied to any other material, like plastic bags and so on.

Sustainability Problem:

Cleanliness on streets and segregating it for re purposing. With growing cities and population sizes, its an issue being faced by almost every large city in the world today.

In the Netherlands alone, over 6 Billion cigarette filters are thrown around the country. Cigarette filters are made up majorly of fibers which clog sewage systems and do not easily decompose.

Technology:

Inspired by a TED talk which demonstrated how crows can be trained to connect coins in exchange for food, they decided to apply this principle to clean up cigarette filters. The founders of ‘Crowded Cities’ based in the Netherlands have designed a product called the Crowbar, which essentially delivers some food to a crow once it drops a cigarette filters which is verified by a computerised source with a camera.

crows-cigarette-butts-4.png

 

  1. First the crows pick it up and drop it in the funnel shaped container below.
  2. The item is recognised with a camera and if its a cigarette filter, the device spits out crow food.
  3. It is their hope that the crow shares his/her experience with others and feed themselves by word of mouth.

 

 

Stakeholders:

  • Founders of the company
  • Department of Sanitation, or its equivalent
  • City Government
  • Recycling centres
  • Cigarrete smokers
  • Crows

Implementation:

crows-cigarette-butts-2.jpg

  • Although they are yet to put out the product ‘Crowbar’ in the field, they are current testing out their design and optimising it.
  • Building partnerships with the city and recycling centres would be valuable once the device is placed on ground.

As I mentioned earlier, this is an innovative application that can be useful for a variety of items beyond cigarette filters. It is utilising the learning capabilities of crows within a simple reward system and suitable technology.

Sources:

https://newatlas.com/crows-cigarette-butts/51683/

http://www.crowdedcities.com/

 

 

Comment on another post: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/18/improving-resiliency-of-concrete-structures-with-recycled-tires/comment-page-1/#comment-1220

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