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Walking Scarecrows

Mobile Robotic Scarecrow, the static ones are just ineffective.
  [vote for,

(In the absence of Business:Agriculture , this category will have to suffice.)

I was out in the countryside yesterday, and there was some planting going on. Fields were strewn with seeds and there were birds all over the place, munching away. Now, it isn't that I want to deprive the birds of some extra nourishment, but there are plenty other places to eat, and quite frankly at the moment I just want to answer the clearly evident product needs of the farmer.
Below ground, below ploughing depth, set up a number of induction cables (electrical cables carrying a large enough current to induce a magnetic field), along tractor tracks or randomly through and around the field or a number of fields. Make scarecrows, paying particular attention to ensuring a low centre of gravity. Give them more than two legs if necessary. Dress them in luminous or otherwise bizarre clothes; my friend has an astonishing collection of fluorescent underwear, for example. Put induction loops (these pick up the magnetic field on cables which turns it into electricity) in their feet, and EITHER a complicated mechanical arrangement to simulate walking, with knee joints and everything (possible using prosthesis technology, surely?) OR rollerskates built into the feet.
Introduce scarecrow(s) to field. Use solar panels, windvanes, or your own electricity to power the underground cables. Scarecrow happily trots/skates around the field on a pre-designed or random path. Birds eating seeds are a problem no more.

Optional: add upper body mechanics and a limited sound production repertoire, so that when kids come and chase your scarecrows around, they can turn round and go "Blraaah!" with scary outstrecthed arms and growly looking face.

<genetic modification sub-idea>hey wouldn't it be cool if we could have rollerskates built into our feet. With retractable/detachable wheels so you could still walk normally</genetic modification sub-idea>
sappho, Apr 10 2002


       Make them solar powered and have them roam around the fields all day. They'll need to know (sense) where the fence lines are as well as other scarecrows and tractors and such.
phoenix, Apr 10 2002

       We already have walking scarecrows in Scotland, they are real people that hired to walk around the fields and just get rid of birds. I hear it pays well.
[ sctld ], Apr 10 2002

       The sub-idea has actually been essentially baked, in the form of shoes with flip-out rollers.
beauxeault, Apr 10 2002

       [UnaBubba] well, the control of the location and speed would obviously use FRC technology, but there aren't going to need to be a whole flock of these. Only one or two. Perhaps they could dance. That would use Mosh Buddy Pogo Weeble technology.
sappho, Apr 10 2002

       Put the scare crow on a low center of gravity radio controlled tracked vechile and let some computer do the driving. Problem solved.
bing, Apr 10 2002

       They should not require tracks or rails. Rather they should wheel about a predetermined path (like those toy trucks with the keypads on the back). If these were available, I would buy a truck load of them. Imagine the fun of a truckload of robot zombies! You could unleash a truck load of zombie "customers" on the local Walmart. Send them into a nightclub and see if they get hit on by the ladies. Or, if you are having a party and need extra friends! I would love to have a few dozen of these things.
phazed, Apr 11 2002

       Pretty good idea, given that robotics today make this pretty plausible, but I wonder if the crows would eventually figure out that the Robo-S'crow hurts them about as much as normal scarecrows.   

       When that happens, I say it's time to activate the B.B. Gun. *grin* Controlled from inside the house, by a small 5-year old boy playing a surprisingly realistic video game.
Delcan, Apr 11 2002

       Since your arming them now, you might want to consult with the U.S Army research and development labs. They have been working this for a while and could equip yours with some auto tracking and firing solutions. Because, after that 5-year old kid chases all the birds away, he is not just going to quit shooting things. Your windows are next!   

       Might as well just up the ante and install surface to bird missile batteries and directed energy anti-bird defenses. Not exactly cost effective, but it will sure scare the bajeezes out of would be trespassers and salespeople.
dag, Apr 11 2002


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