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Recommend an online community to co-design and create devices for personal use


Hello everyone, it's a lot of time I don't write in public on the internet. When something difficult/weird comes to my mind, it happens that I go to :)

Here's my difficulty: I'd like to have a device, for personal use at my home, but it doesn't exist - so I can't just purchase it.

It's something that probably technically can be done these days, and I have an overall idea of how to, but can't go from start to finish myself without spending an inappropriate amount of time.

So I thought: it's 2019, the Internet and everything, of course there are communities who "design and build together" things, like software, hardware, etc.
But I'm not sure which could be, for hardware+software devices for personal use.

Thus my question: do you have recommendations? I'd basically would like to post the necessity, and try to contribute as anyone else over time, but hoping that someone smarter than me, together with someone else smarter than him/her, etc. could help with significant progress so to not wait for a lifetime for having it operative on my home's balconies.

The device that I would like to build is something that detects pigeons on balcony with artificial vision and ML, using several cameras and raspberry pi's or whatever, and moves one or more flashlights to point towards the pigeons and try to persuade them to go away. And/Or, moves a robot owl or a robot falcon, that goes towards them, scares them until they go away, and then goes back to the charging station.

Recommend an online community to co-design and create devices for personal use

Something a bit like this ?

Turning a light source on/off and moving small servo motors is quite easy with a Raspberry Pi. There are a lot of tutorials on that online. My advice is that you first figure out what type of sound/light/movement is sufficient to repel the birds in the location you have in mind. Once you have that more detailed you can work out what kind of hardware/software you need. Perhaps a simple PIR movement sensor is enough as a reliable detector, rather than more complex machine learning and computer vision software?

Repelling birds might be accomplished by the smell of one or more cats. I don't mention sound of a cat, because cats don't make a sound when they hunt your "feathery friends". So, to that end, collect "fresh" used cat sand, put it a closed off box, sprinkle it with water, let the gasses come off and blow it gently towards the location where you do not want the birds to appear.

How precise must the bird detection be? Most (IP) cameras have motion detection built in and aren't expensive. The level of precision might not be ideal, though. Motion detection can be triggered by many things, even changes in light from angles you wouldn't expect.

But there might be a simpler solution. There are a lot of bronze/brass statues in the city of London, a lot of them on locations that are also frequented by birds. From what I understand the cleaning bill for those statues was quite high, until they applied a low current connection to these statues. Birds wouldn't go near them anymore, reducing cleaning costs significantly. So if your balcony has iron (or brass or bronze) parts, something as simple as putting a low current through it may already be enough to get rid of them. There is something something to say for simple solutions.


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