Pepper, the parrot, has been a part of our family for over a decade.  However, Pepper produces terrible shrieks when left alone.  To combat the shrieks an automated sound triggered squirt gun was created to deter the bird from shrieking. At first, the squirt gun proved effective. The bird’s screaming would cease after the squirt gun would fire. However, the effectiveness of the water gun did not last. Pepper started utilizing the water as a bird bath and continued to shriek. Next, a remote controlled noise maker was placed near the bird’s cage (fig 2). Whenever the bird shrieked, a user could press a button to activate the noise maker startling the bird. This too did not last as the bird became adjusted to the rattling of the noise maker.

Instead of startling the bird into muteness, allowing the bird to roam around the house may be a better option. However, because of the messes the bird leaves behind and the possibility of the bird getting stepped on, roaming the house un-attended is not an option. If he could be placed on a mobile platform that could move about the house, hopefully he would stop screaming. Thus the idea for the “Bird Buggy” was born.

The original Bird Buggy is an open-loop, two wheel drive, tri-cycle platform powered by a 12v battery and controlled by a microcontroller. The parrot is placed on the perch and interacts with the buggy through a joystick. The movement of the joystick corresponds to movement of the cart. Because of the open loop feedback, the cart has several deficiencies: it is unable to drive in a straight line, and it cannot avoid obstacles. The goal of the new “Bird Buggy” is to solve the previous problems and to add some additional functionality to the platform.