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Robotics Science Technology

Parrot Drives Robotic Buggy 182

grrlscientist writes "Proving that robots aren't just for people any longer, an African grey parrot, Pepper, has learned to drive a robot that was specially designed for him. Pepper, whose wings are clipped to preventing him from flying around his humans' house and destroying their things, now manipulates the joystick on his riding robot to guide it to where ever he wishes to go. This robotic 'bird buggy' was the brainchild of his human companion, Andrew Gray, a 29-year-old electrical and computer engineering graduate student at the University of Florida."

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Parrot Drives Robotic Buggy

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  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @05:44PM (#42220211) Homepage Journal

    It's like having a 2 to 5 year old that lives longer than you do.

    That said, they are damn smart birds.

  • ironic... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @05:46PM (#42220229)

    ...that the same human who had the birds wings clipped so it can't move has had to build him a fucking go kart so he's able to move around again.

    Fuck you, Andrew Gray, and the horse you rode in on. IF you haven't clipped its hooves at the knee, that is!

  • Re:ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:02PM (#42220343)

    For the sake of argument, is it really that cruel? It doesn't seem as bad to me as docking a puppy's tail; primary feathers grow back, don't they?

    Mind you, a friend of mine had a beautiful white parrot when I was younger and he never had much trouble with it breaking his stuff. Perhaps instead of altering a pet to one's home it's better to alter the home to suit the pet.

  • Re:ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:24PM (#42220541) Journal

    Andrew Gray, and the horse you rode in on. IF you haven't clipped its hooves at the knee, that is!

    It's not the wings that are clipped, just some feathers to keep it from hurting itself inside the house.

    We can disagree about whether or not any animal should be kept by humans, but clipping the feathers of a parrot so it doesn't hurt itself flying around the house don't really qualify as enormously cruel. Certainly not as "cruel" as forcibly neutering a dog or cat. Probably not as cruel as riding a horse.

    There is an argument about the lifespan of the parrot, though. He's going to live on average about 20% longer as a pet than he would as a free bird. We could ask the parrot whether he'd rather have some feathers clipped and live in a safe home with abundant food and no predators (plus a very cool scooter) or in the wild where his life will be much shorter, but he's not talking.

    Or maybe he is talking, since he's a parrot...

  • Re:ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duds ( 100634 ) * <> on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:25PM (#42220553) Homepage Journal

    If they're too big for the average house, don't KEEP them in an average house.

    And how is it being temporary any better, that just means you're doing it more often.

  • Re:ironic... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by able1234au ( 995975 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:37PM (#42220687)

    "So cruel to birds" he says munching on his KFC. "Pass me another bucket of wings!"

  • Re:Fuck the owner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:43PM (#42220735)

    Man, lotta PETA supporters or something on /. today. Are you against neutering cats and dogs too?

    1. It's not a "free bird". A free bird would be one that's outside in the trees. This is a domesticated bird in a house. But I assume you just threw the "free" part in as an emotional word of some sort to get people onto your side anyway.
    2. Clipping the wings is exactly NOTHING like breaking the legs. Since it's only temporarily trimming the end feathers, it's more akin to clipping a cat's nails. It stops the cat from gripping the ground when running, so therefore it must be cruel. If a bird that large were allowed to fly about freely inside, it'd likely do more damage to itself than to objects.
    3. Before you even think about talking about declawing, just stop with that horribly incorrect analogy already. Clipped feathers grow back, removing the top knuckle of the cat's paws doesn't. And no, my cat isn't declawed, that's cruel.
    4. You're an idiot, and god help you if you ever own a pet.

    I just took a cone off my cat from him having had surgery. Are advocating that I should have left the cone off and let him chew away at his stitches instead, because the cone isn't natural, and hinders him?

    Not all things people do to pets are for the sake of cruelty. In fact, I would argue that the vast, VAST majority of things we do for pets is because we love them, and it's better for them.

  • Re:ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:57PM (#42220847)
    Grey parrots are 1) one of the most intelligent species of birds known, 2) one of the most destructive species of birds known. They're probably exceeded only by the New Zealand kea (which can remove every plastic part on the exterior of a car except for the tires in an hour) in destructiveness.

    I remember having to ferret-proof a house, I can only imagine what a pain in the ass it would have been if the critter had been able to fly too.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith