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Park poo-dar   (+5)  [vote for, against]
what did you do and where did you do it?!

If you have a dog, and your dog likes to frolic in the park, and you ever get more than ten feet away from your dog... or are ever subject to inexplicable lapses of attention... you may realize that something has just recently occurred, but you are not entirely sure where it occurred. Maybe you were even watching at the time, but the light is bad and the grass is tall. Your dog doesn't seem to understand your frantic requests for information. Now you are faced with this dilemma: Shall I live with the secret shame of being one of those bad park citizens? Or shall I spend the next 45 minutes performing an exhaustive grid search of this hill, until I find (visually, or by stepping in) my dog's latest gift to the world?

I propose two somewhat different technological solutions:

1. An array of electronic odor sensors spaced around a hat so as to give you a quick directional reading, which would be translated into some pleasant delicate sound (e.g. wind chimes) leading you in the appropriate direction. The odor in question won't be uncommon in the park, so the hat will have to select for the freshest/strongest signal -- or, in an advanced model, correlate the poo smell with your dog's own body odor.

2. A large truck containing high-volume air-conditioning equipment, allowing you to quickly lower the air temperature and humidity throughout the park; now your goal will be marked by a convenient rising steam trail.
-- hob, Jan 25 2010

Good Citizens Help You Out http://www.southwar...Education/flag.html
Organisd by the Local Council [pocmloc, Jan 26 2010]

The newly developing science of terahertz waves might provide another answer. By my back-of-the-envelope, back-from-the-pub calculations, the wavelength of a 1THz signal is about 0.3mm. A hungry dog will probably be oblivious to the presence of 0.3mm diameter plastic spheres in its food.

Manufacture a large number of tiny corner reflectors approximately 0.3mm across, and encase them in such spheres. Mix them into your dog's food. The idea is that these spheres will pass harmlessly through your dog and emerge intact in its poo.

Construct a hand-held, radar-like gadget which can produce a pulse of EM radiation at a suitable wavelength - let's say 5THz. The device should also be able to detect and amplify the returning signal.

When you suspect that your dog has done the dodgy business, take out the device and wave it around, looking for the maximum of the returned signal. This should allow you to home in on the reflectors and find the offending pile.
-- Wrongfellow, Jan 25 2010

// A hungry dog will probably be oblivious to the presence of 0.3mm diameter plastic spheres in its food //

Oblivious? Based on past experience of finding Tupperware and yogurt containers chewed up, I would say my dog would *relish* the plastic spheres.
-- hob, Jan 25 2010

I'd guess that's probably because your dog enjoys the feeling of exercising his or her teeth and jaw muscles by chewing the plastic. This feeling can only be obtained from objects much larger than 0.3mm in diameter.
-- Wrongfellow, Jan 25 2010

I can't believe you haven't heard of the ol' jar of flies trick. Here's what you do, see. When you take your dog for a walk, you carry a big ol' jar of flies in your coat pocket. Now keep in mind these have to be the kind of flies that love poop, fruit flies wont work. So, you have your jar of flies, and they're in the jar buzzing up a storm, and your dog is sniffing around trying to find that perfect spot to drop off that delivery you both know is coming. Suddenly, your dog is off and running, and you know you missed it because a dog only runs like that right after it's done everything it's meant to do. You have no idea where that is though, so you take the big ol' jar of flies out of your pocket and get real low to the ground, and you shake up that jar just enough to get 'em good and frenzied, and then ever so slightly crack the lid. Be careful not to let them all out at once, because they'll head straight for ya, and they're known to get bitey. Kinda distribute them around the general area, staying low to the ground, and when the jar is empty just listen. Those flies will find what you're looking for, and when they do, they won't know well enough to shut up about it.
-- rcarty, Jan 26 2010

"Park poo-dar"
Sounds like Klingon.
-- phoenix, Jan 26 2010

Well that tears it. We need government funded fleets of solar powered chemical sniffing Poombas roaming the parks.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 26 2010

[2 fries] I did think this might be redundant with the Poomba, but I guess my idea was more of a solo tool for emergency situations rather than routine maintenance. If we had that fleet, then we wouldn't need this.

[21 Quest] Thanks! I haven't done any in a while - want to. I collected together the ones I did so far, if you go to the 2nd of the 2 links on my profile, then click on ". . . .", then on "illustration", then scroll down.

[blissmiss] If a hat is no good, maybe a belt & a pair of headphones?
-- hob, Jan 26 2010

//I look over my shoulder and make sure nobody's watching...//

Every time I step in someone else's dog poo, I'm one day closer to becoming the "Dog Killing Park Sniper".
-- MikeD, Jan 26 2010

//don't go to a dog park//

I wouldn't have a problem if I were stepping in dog poo while in a dog park. The problem is: My neighbor seems to think the strip of grass between the parking spaces and the apartment complex is a dog park.
-- MikeD, Jan 26 2010

Unless Poomba was one of UnaBubba's deleted ones I don't think it is an existing idea [Hob].

<later edit> Ah the Poo ba, thanks [21 Quest]
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 27 2010

[+]I would love to use this in the house for those times that the dog has an accident. I might smell it for a little while but I can't find it. I ask the dog, and naturally he says, "Rye-ront-row.." and then eventually it dries, the scent becomes less prevalent, and then I find it when I least want to.. like in the coat closet during a dinner party!
-- Jscotty, Jan 27 2010

(Just wielded the annotation ax to remove an argument about another poster's dog park habits & a request for me to do an illustration - the latter just depends on some random alignment of cosmic rays)
-- hob, Jan 27 2010

random, halfbakery