May 19, 2013

"You know you’ve built a pretty good robot when nature itself has been fooled."

"And a group of robotics researchers at the University of Maryland got that compliment last month, when their robotic bird, dubbed 'Robo Raven' was attacked by a hawk."

36 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Congratulations. You've spent umpteen thousand dollars and acheived the same level of success as the guy who made the first wind-up toy mouse.

Sorun said...

Joe Biden has an accent like that guy.

Paddy O said...

Hugin and Munin fly each day
over the spacious earth.
I fear for Hugin, that he come not back,
yet more anxious am I for Munin, because his batteries might run out.

Paddy O said...

By the by, have you ever seen a hawk and a raven in aerial combat? It's extraordinary display of aerobatics, the masters of the art of flying in full dogfights. Inverted rolling, swoops and dives, incredible.

I suspect the hawk in this case thought he caught a raven by surprise.

DADvocate said...

Maybe the hawk hates robots.

Freder Frederson said...

I've seen birds attack plastic Easter eggs.

MayBee said...

Plastic owls scare away pigeons and sea gulls.

Also, scarecrows.

DADvocate said...

Why do dogs chase snd sometimes attack cars, bicycles and motorcycles? Even small remote control cars. Do they mistake those for another dog? I doubt it.

Many animals, including some birds including some hawks, are territorial. Walk too close to a mockingbird nest sometime and find out. When I was in college there, the University of Tennessee had a sign by tree warning of an aggressive mockingbird. It was fun to sit and watch from a short distance the passersby who didn't heed the sign.

The hawk wasn't fooled. It simply saw something it regarded as a threat to its territory and attacked.

elkh1 said...

A racist hawk.

Mark O said...

Apparently, these folks have never seen the work of a scarecrow.

Astro said...

I'm sensing a theme here. Hmm.

Astro said...

Is it time to hear from the stool pigeon?

wyo sis said...

I hope they're cheap to make.

Rusty said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Congratulations. You've spent umpteen thousand dollars and acheived the same level of success as the guy who made the first wind-up toy mouse.

No. they've accomplished something remarkable.
They are the first to actually duplicate how a bird flies. Varying the wing geometry at will like a bird.
Impressive stuff.

Rusty said...

wyo sis said...
I hope they're cheap to make.


The first one is always expensive. the more they make the cheaper they get.
Untill the DOD gets ahold of them and starts hanging cameras and missiles off of them. Then they get expensive again.

edutcher said...

The phrase, "bird brain", ring any bells?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I'm with Rusty. That is a seriously impressive achievement. (I don't mean the hawk attack so much, but the level of maneuverability they've got there.) Ornithopters are hard. There's a reason none of our aircraft have birdlike flapping wings.

Howard said...

It's no big deal, based on the design of a 50-year old toy.
http://www.tintoyarcade.com/products/Tim-Flying-Bird-DaVinci-Ornithopter.html

Dale Light said...

Raptors are really stupid. At the North Lookout on Hawk Mountain I have seen hawks and falcons repeatedly attack a stuffed owl on a pole. It takes them several runs at the target before they finally figure out that it isn't real. Corvids, on the other hand, are quite intelligent and cooperate to harass raptors that are unlucky enough to wander into their territory.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Howard, a controllable ornithopter is a big deal. It's not difficult to get a small bird-shaped something aloft with flapping-wing motion. It's another matter entirely to get it to do what you want to the extent these guys have.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dale Light,

Corvids, on the other hand, are quite intelligent and cooperate to harass raptors that are unlucky enough to wander into their territory.

Meanwhile, the mockingbirds do likewise to the corvids :-) In the mockingbird/crow territorial combats I've seen, the crow always lost.

Crows are smart, no question. We used to live in a house whose yard had a walnut tree. The crows would grab walnuts and drop them from twenty feet or so up onto the street. Sometimes that would be enough to crack them, but if it wasn't, they'd wait for someone to drive over them. Fascinating to watch.

jr565 said...

Please, cats will attack a laser pointer beam that moves around quickly. And there's that contraption that looks like a mouse is running under cloth and they always fall for it and chase the mouse.

Animals are dumb.

jr565 said...

Did you ever see a dog chase it's own tail? Again, animals are dumb.

jr565 said...

Please, cats will attack a laser pointer beam that moves around quickly. And there's that contraption that looks like a mouse is running under cloth and they always fall for it and chase the mouse.

Animals are dumb.

rhhardin said...

You can fool chipmunks into thinking you're a robot. They'll eat from your hand, and then scurry away to safety underneath you.

Speaking of which, a neighbor beagle was chasing a rabbit for a half hour, braying through field and road, and the rabbit chanced to pass by me on a sprint, stopped, and hid next to my feet. The beagle couldn't find him, either. He was there for a few minutes.

I think the rabbit was not fooled, but just thought that the dog would be more afraid of me that he was, and he was pretty much out of breath.

rhhardin said...

A squirrel escaping a cat will take a chance on crossing a busy 4-lane road, thinking it might be fatal to the cat rather than himself.

bagoh20 said...

When hang gliding, we get attacked by hawks all the time. I don't think it's because they are fooled that a human hanging under a kite with a 30 ft wingspan is another hawk.

The hawk doesn't have to be fooled to defend it's territory from anything that threatens it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Rusty-

I was not trying to minimize their accomplishment, I was just mocking their metric.

Howard said...

Michelle: There is nothing special about it. It's a graduate student toy employing 19th and early 20th century science that benefits from use of off-the-shelf modern electronics and materials. This is a self-esteem era engineering breakthrough with a cute kitty video.

bagoh20 said...

I have this Crow / Mockingbird / Red Tailed Hawk battle right outside my window every day, and it was just happening about an hour ago.

There is a nesting pair of hawks that hunt and nest in a palm tree in plain clear view of my kitchen window. The crows hang out in the huge ficus trees just below that, and the mockingbirds hang out on a telephone pole above my patio. The mocking bird chases the crows, and the crows chase the hawks. They never skip over. They maintain the order of smaller harassing the next larger. At the top, the hawks harass the hang gliders and we harass the airliners on approach to Burbank airport.

I've seen the hawks kill a crow in mid-air combat by just rolling upside down and grabbing them as they dive bomb the hawk. The courage (or stupidity) of the smaller birds is amazing.

Rusty said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Rusty-

I was not trying to minimize their accomplishment, I was just mocking their metric.

I think you murdered it.

Fritz said...

We fishermen should feel so smart for fooling fish with a piece of rubber and a hook.

ken in sc said...

Crows are also comical. I have seen them dive bomb members of their own flock (murder) just for fun or as a joke it seems. It’s like when dogs play fight.

rcocean said...

Crows are incredibly cocky around here. Example: stopped at a red light, a crow hopped right in front of my car, I blew the horn, he didn't fly away. Inched the car forward and he RELUCTANTLY hopped two inches out of the way.

Despite this kind of behavior, I have never seen a dead crow.

Dale Light said...

I once saw an American Kestrel make the mistake of diving on a Blue Jay. The jay beat the crap out of it, and probably would have killed it if I hadn't interrupted the fight trying to get a picture. Hawks and falcons don't have to be defending territories. They will attack owls on sight, even during migrations. I have both crows and mockingbirds at my place, and they seem to keep pretty much to themselves. They both get upset when a hawk is overhead.

DCS said...

My cat will attack a shiny ball of aluminum foil and chase a laser pen light around the room. Can I get a Nobel prize?