Multiple studies have investigated crow intelligence, and crows' intelligence may be why the cigarette butt system could work

Crowded Cities teaches crows to collect cigarette butts

Does the sight of cigarette butts littering city streets bother you?

A new Dutch startup might have an unusual answer to the problem.

The startup, called Crowded Cities, is working on training crows to recognize and pick up cigarette butts from city streets and parks.

Scroll down for video

Multiple studies have investigated crow intelligence, and crows' intelligence may be why the cigarette butt system could work

Multiple studies have investigated crow intelligence, and crows’ intelligence may be why the cigarette butt system could work

The idea is to train the crows to drop cigarette butts in a ‘Crowbar,’ which scans the item to confirm it’s a cigarette butt, and then gives the crow a food reward to reinforce the behavior.

Worldwide, about 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered each year.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, discarded cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable litter.

They’re carried as runoff from streets to drains, to river, and ultimately to the ocean and beaches.

Not only are cigarette butts unsightly, they’re also toxic to certain marine animals, and there have been cases of children ingesting them.

The inspiration for Crowded Cities came when its founders, interaction designer Ruben van der Vleuten, and experiment designer Bob Spikman came across a man names Joshua Klein, who is teaching crows to collect coins.

HOW THE CROWBAR WORKS

The Crowbar, designed by Dutch startup Crowded Cities, is a system designed to train crows to pick up cigarette butts.

The design works based on a crow first bringing a cigarette filter to the Crowbar, where they drop it into the bottom funnel where it’s checked.

Then, after a camera has recognized the item as a filter, it releases a piece of food onto a table in front of the crow, as a reward.

This is done with the intention that the crow will fly away and inform others of this system, so that more crows participate in cigarette butt collection.

The design works based on a crow first bringing a cigarette filter to the Crowbar, where they drop it into the bottom funnel where it's checked
After a camera has recognized the item as a filter, it releases a piece of food onto a table in front of the crow, as a reward
The Crwobar has been designed with the intention that the crow will fly away and inform others of this system, so that more crows participate in cigarette butt collection

The idea is to train the crows to drop cigarette butts in a ‘Crowbar,’ which scans the items to confirms it’s a cigarette butt, and then gives the crow a food reward to reinforce the behavior

This led van der Vleuten and Spikman to designing the Crowbar – a system designed to train crows to pick up cigarette butts.

The design works based on a crow first bringing a cigarette filter to the Crowbar, where they drop it into the bottom funnel where it’s checked.

Crowded Cities says that its building its first Crowbar, and that all of its different parts are working and ready for assembly - so the next step will be to test it with crows

Crowded Cities says that its building its first Crowbar, and that all of its different parts are working and ready for assembly – so the next step will be to test it with crows

The inspiration for Crowded Cities came when its founders, interaction designer Ruben van der Vleuten, and experiment designer Bob Spikman came across a man names Joshua Klein, who is teaching crows to collect coins

The inspiration for Crowded Cities came when its founders, interaction designer Ruben van der Vleuten, and experiment designer Bob Spikman came across a man names Joshua Klein, who is teaching crows to collect coins

Then, after a camera has recognized the cigarette filter as a filter, it releases a piece of food onto a table in front of the crow, as a reward.

This is done with the intention that the crow will fly away and inform others of this system, so that more crows participate in cigarette butt collecting.

Crowded Cities says that its building its first Crowbar, and that all of its different parts are working and ready for assembly – so the next step will be to test it with crows.

HOW SMART ARE CROWS?

Multiple studies have investigated crow intelligence.

For example, a September 2017 study found that New Caledonian crows and kea parrots can figure out how useful an object is in helping them to get a desired reward.

In a task involving unlocking feeding devices using different tools and actions, six of the 14 birds selected the correct tools at rates that were ‘above chance.’

The researchers suggested that birds may learn incidentally through their interactions, and later use the new understanding to their benefit.

And a 2016 research review found that cognition in crows and parrots reaches the same level of excellence as apes, and birds and mammals have developed similar brain organizations that could constitute the neural basis of their cognitive skills.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

Check Also

The fossilised remains of a 48 million year old new species of bird have been dug up in Germany

Fossil of 48 MILLION year old species of bird discovered

The creature was discovered in the Messel Pit in Central Germany by researchers from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt and MIT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *