Carnegie Mellon University
Semester: Spring 2013 (2nd semester)
Course: Interactive Art and Computational Design


Describe your project in 140 characters or less:
Bird-Eye is an augmented bird feeder that takes pictures, video, and sound recording of birds as they feed.

Project Description:
Bored at work? Tired of school? Out of town? Wish you could watch your birds remotely? Bird-eye is a stylish augmented bird feeder that allows you to do just that. Bird-eye captures pictures, video, and sound recording of visiting birds, publishing that information through Cosm and Flickr. You can now get up close and intimate with the birds, listen to their songs, create an album of your local wildlife to show friends and family. Not only is Bird-Eye intriguing, but it’s also quite stylish. This feeder makes use of old ceiling lamp globes, repurposing them into part feeder, part stage, and part hanging garden art.

Bird PVR
Bird-Eye is designed to be a piece of garden art that is elegantly integrated with electronics. With it, I imagine being able to document resident birds in their everyday environment using video, still photography, and audio recording. In the same way that people record their favorite TV shows to watch when they get home from work, the Bird-Eye enables people to see something that most of us miss due to a 9-5 schedule.

The bird as a social object:
Being a bird watcher and gardener, I have my share of feeders and have often sat by the window with my cats watching them come and go. My aunt and I frequently have discussions about our gardens and local birds, she’ll tell me what birds are coming through the Pittsburgh area, and I in turn will bombard her with bird-related questions. Having more years of bird watching under her belt than me, she is far better at identifying them. With that said, I really think Bird-Eye could fit into a certain social niche. I could imagine people sharing close-up photos and video of their birds, asking and answering questions, making Flickr galleries, or even bird song remixes. Who knows what people will create?

Garden hardware:
The design of Bird-Eye is inspired by Eva Solo’s hanging glass bird feeders and DIY light globe feeders. I am trying to create an elegant bird feeder that is beautiful, simple, and easy-to-clean, that integrates electronics in a way that does not take away from the overall form.

Natural world network nodes:
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, repurposing light fixture glass results in unique forms that are a demonstration of sustainability and reuse. In addition, this device could be used to educate children and curious adults about the local Pittsburgh birds, their feeding habits, and social quirks. Wild birds could become more like pets, allowing people to develop connections with resident birds and their personalities without disrupting their natural lifecycle. Maybe this interaction will enable people to develop a better appreciation for our local wildlife and the importance of preserving nature in the city and our world as a whole.