I work everyday with industrial applications of artificial intelligence (AI)...
so the whole rig for the magpie project must be:
- Completely remote controlled
- Document and log data and video.
I spent remarkably much time creating the actual food dispenser.
After testing with several Thingiverse designs of pet feeders, often based on a rotating feeder screw, I left these techniques. The dispenser must never get stuck and I want to be able to feed out individual peanuts. I looked at industrial solutions and got hooked on vibrating feeders. The base of the feeder is a fantastic vibration feeder from thingiverse. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2118961
many thanks to Viking Machinery
Choose ABS or PETG for the four 'dog-bone' parts, PLA does not last long.
To this design I have added a number of extensions and funnels, I upload these as STL files. But, these are quick and dirty designs, you have to attach the parts on your own with small sheet-metal sheets, or in another way. Sorry for this, but when I build I am often experimenting and usually don't know exactly what the solution will look like ...
My parts to extend the vibro feeder can be found here:
One of these funnel parts has a 5mm socket for IR-LED and photodiode. with this arrangement I can run the dispenser with increasing intensity until I detect a peanut, Then stop the vibrating motor.
The BirdBox is based on the vibro-feeder from Viking Machinery http://www.vikingmachinery.co.nz/ https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2118961 To this i have added several extensions, funnel opto-gates hoses etc. The vibrating motor is a simple 4.5 v DC motor. I made an unbalanced flywheel to this motor, included here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4601125 as STL The BirdBox is controlled by a Raspberry Pi 4 with an add-on board. The add-on board includes a DC motor controller.
There is also two arduinos in the design. For the raspberry, there is a python program that is controlling the logic of the feeder. I use the VNC feature together with AnyDesk to have full access to the BirdBox from 'remote'. The python code incorporates a simple GUI where i can see and log the progress and status of the BirdBox.
This has been absolutely necessary for me to be able to run the experiments 'autonomous' and remote. There is also a wide-angle picam-camera attached to the raspberry. There is an screenshot of the GUI and camera view in the files section I will describe the electronics and software later on this page... History of the project, and how i trained the magpies. The project has been running for several years. The video-clip you see on this page is the result of stubborn work and several steps. Step 1 is to make the birds interested and familiar with the feeder. I recommend anyone interested in setting up similar experiments to start with that. You need to feed the birds regularly to get your 'site' included in their 'patrol-scheme'. That is why i start to publish designs necessary for this initial phase, feeder, and some sort of experiment site, like the general food-bowl included in the STL files. I plan to share more stuff later.
Today 202-10-17, I uploaded a YouTube video describing how i trained the birds.