The winners of the Dutch Accenture Innovation Awards, the Crowbar (Crowded Cities) startup offers a smart machine that trains crows to pick up cigarette butts from the street, The Next Web reports.
The incentives work like this:
The machine is designed to autonomously train crows to pick up change and bring it back in exchange for peanuts.
The first step presents the crow with food and a butt on a tray in the machine. The food is always there, next to the butt, so the crow learns to come back for more.
The second step takes away the food, and only drops it just after the crow arrives. “So the crow gets used to the machine doing things,” Bob says.
“The third step is crucial,” the authors say. In this step, the food is completely removed, leaving only the butt on the tray. The crow, used to getting food only for being there, will start to nose around, eventually knocking the butt off the tray into the butt receptacle. The food drops when that happens.
Here is the full story, via the excellent Mark Thorson.