By HC Gilje
Read more about Wind-Up Birds on Gilje’s blog, Conversations with Spaces
“The wind-up birds are a flock of mechanical woodpeckers, having found their first home in a forest in Lillehammer, Norway as part of the UT-21 project.
Gilje created the birds with a set of questions in mind: How will nature treat them, with hostility or acceptance? How will the wind-up birds adapt to heat/cold wet/dry conditions? Will small insects creep inside the circuitry creating possible short circuits, beetles eat the wood, squirrels use the wood slit as nut storage (or the roof as a slide?), birds use it as a shelter, etc.? Will they be treated as foreign objects or accepted into the local ecosystem?, How do real woodpeckers react? Are they threatened, attracted, or not bothered? Will they use the roof as a pecking drum?,
Initial tests indicate an attraction: it took 15 minutes for a real woodpecker to join a wind-up bird on the same tree. Since the wind-up birds are communicating, they needed to be in a wireless network. Gilje decided used XBee radios since they are programmable, low-energy, high speed radio modems which can work in a mesh network.”