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flying bird cage

Why should hamsters have all the fun?
  [vote for,

So... Think of those plastic balls that hamster can run around in. Perhaps my pet canary wants the run of the house too. I don't want to let the canary out of his cage though, in case he flys to a tall part of the house where I can't get him back again, or flies out a window.

So the canary's cage is now a large plastic sphere*, like a much bigger version of the hamster's ball. Attached to the top of the sphere is some sort of floatation and steering device, a balloon say, or rotor blades. Inside the ball a small camera is hooked to a internal computer. The camera tracks the bird's movement, and can control movement of the flying cage accordingly. The cage is designed so that wherever the bird goes, the cage will adjust so that the bird is always in the centre of the cage. Hence if the bird flies upwards, the cage will go with him.

There are two other features of the roaming bird cage. Firstly it is programmed to know where the boundaries of the room are, so that the bird can't simply fly the whole cage out of the window. Secondly, when the bird is bored or tired, the cage can automatically return to it's docking station, where it can recharge overnight.

* OK, so it's not really a cage. [edited to add] So now it's also got holes in it so the air can flow through.

iivix, Jun 06 2004

Similar idea for fish http://www.halfbake...g_20Goldfish_20Bowl
Spotted this after I posted. I guess the roaming fish bowl could be made to fly too... why not? [iivix, Oct 04 2004]

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       Would the cage be heavier when the bird lands?   

       A stationary model could be designed as a 3D wind "tunnel" with air flow in the right direction and velocity to keep Tweety in the middle.
FarmerJohn, Jun 06 2004

       [FarmerJohn] the stationary model would be a little cruel, no? The whole point of this is to let the little bird stretch his wings a bit...
iivix, Jun 07 2004

       "...the bird can't simply fly the whole cage out of the window."
So the bird is going to smack the inside of the cage at some point, right? How does the bird land?
phoenix, Jun 07 2004

       *g* I like the idea of having pets in easy to use, self-recharging bubbles, floating around mans living space. It takes some of the good aspects of having a pet, but also some of the bad ones.   

       This idea is expandable with no limits. For example, you could have: ( ) the bubbles shine in different colors in the dark ( ) let them make sounds with different instruments and a different pitch, depending on the direction and speed ( ) imagine throwing them, imagine taking them with you in a coat to show it to your friends. This idea is as brilliant as it is ethically questionable.   

       Actually: expand this idea to human orphans, growing up in easy-to-use computer generated learning environments. And whoops we end up in the MATRIX ;o)
fuqnbastard, Jun 07 2004

       I don't know. I think you're gonna have a hard time getting your flying mechanism to keep up with the bird. They're pretty fast, you know. And they often change directions, you know. I don't know.
yabba do yabba dabba, Jun 07 2004

       // large plastic sphere* *OK, so it's not really a cage //   

       Your bird is going to have a hard time flying in a plastic sphere since the air inside the sphere will be stationary in relation to the sphere. Now if it were a cage this could potentially work since the air would flow through the cage, but all those wires would create a bit of turbulence in the air inside the cage, which might make it a bit difficult for the bird to fly.   

       I think you would have the best chance of success with a bird that can fly very slowly like a hummingbird.
scad mientist, Jun 07 2004

       I think this idea could be improved by making an "extra light" sphere-shaped structure (not a full sphere, but a structure with "holes") that is hard enough so the bird can't escape and light enough so it simply "floats", powered by the air movement produced by the canary's wings as it flies. In a way it's like the canary is "carrying" its own sphere wherever it flies. I am not very good at explaining these sort of things, but this could solve many problems.   

       But, as fuqnbastard notes, I agree that this is ethicaly questionable. One of the saddest things I could be exposed to are caged birds and fishtanks.   

       I had a parrot for 7 years. It was given to me when he was so little that he didn't have any feathers and still had to be fed a warm dough in the same way his mother would have done it. I never cut his wings and he was free to fly around the house. He learned that staying or leaving was his choice, so he chose to never escape.   

       Maybe if you teach you canary (first with shut windows) that he can fly around the house and is free to enter and exit his "cage" to be fed, you both will live a happy, remorse-free life.
Pericles, Jun 07 2004

       Yay! A tiny cute little humming bird!   

       In a now slightly perforated plastic sphere, which may or may not glow in the dark. With a hugely powerful computer to try and keep up with the little blighter. And some advanced programming to safely slow the sphere when it approaches windows so the little thing doesn't hit his head. (Although if anyone has seen a hamster in a ball, you'll know that they don't seem to suffer when rolling into things at speed).
iivix, Jun 07 2004

       // I agree that this is ethicaly questionable//   

       Pah! The whole point is to let the bird fly round a bit - it's got to be better than a stationary cage, no?   

       //[marked-for-deletion] bad science//   

       I'm really not convinced. OK, so the sphere is now perforated, air can flow through it. Tell me why this doesn't work...
iivix, Jun 07 2004

       Why shouldn't the bird be able to fly in a closed sphere (with some kind of air conditioning, so it doesn't suffocate). The bird doesn't need to keep the sphere flying, just itself inside, the sphere flys by itself ... I realize that it's a pretty difficult thing to build.
fuqnbastard, Jun 07 2004

       [fb] It's not that the bird can't fly in the sphere, it's that she's flying reletive to the sphere. To fly, she has to have air flowing past her wings. To do that, she has to move forward. Moving forward, she will run out of room and hit the wall of the sphere.   

       If you say "well, the device will pull the wall forward", then you're not realizing that the air inside will move forward along with the ball, and polly needs to be moving forward in relation to this air. Hence, she will still hit the wall of the sphere.   

       [iivix] That sounds reasonable to me. However, you will get interference from the cage in the form of turbulent air that may make it difficult for the bird to fly. Also, the proplusion device for the cage would air downward on your bird, making it difficult to fly.
Worldgineer, Jun 07 2004

       [Worldgineer] There’s one other aspect – the bird’s not stuck in the sphere’s air like in concrete or water. It doesn’t have to follow the sphere’s movements. If the bird is heading for the front wall and the sphere accelerates forward to avoid contact, this is similar to someone about to be back-ended and trying to duck forward to avoid whiplash. The head need not come near the dashboard as the car and headrest catch up to the head.   

       This may mean the sphere would have to continue accelerating to avoid bird brain concussion.
FarmerJohn, Jun 07 2004

       But where will the air come from to support the bird's flight?
Worldgineer, Jun 07 2004

       Maybe, just maybe...   

       If we made the chage light enough that the bird could carry it herself.
And if, since we are having holes anyway, we can put the cage on the inside of the wings, so that they can interact with the air directly.
And if we could have the propulsional system lightweight and only on when you need to retrieve the bird...

       That's it! A little leg collar with a string/thread/nanotube cable attached!
Worldgineer, Jun 07 2004


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