The overengineered solution to my pigeon problem

Max Nagy built a WiFi-equipped water gun to shoot the pigeons on a balcony, controlled over the internet by a Python script running OpenCV reading the camera image of an old iPhone.

The pigeons in my backyard find particular pleasures in voiding their excrements onto my balcony. Dissatisfied with this situation, I went online to find a solution.

I decided to solve the pigeon problem on my balcony once and for all (and in a humane way). The idea was quite simple: Mount an electric water gun on my balcony, detect pigeons with a web cam and shoot them. Pigeons should not get used to getting sprayed at (at least not while its coldish), I don’t have to disfigure my balcony and I’m not harming the pigeons in any way or even risk killing them.

He chose a Wemos D1 Mini board as the brain of the water gun. They are small, cheap, offer WiFi and have some shields available for them that ease cabling. In particular, Max used a relay shield. (Relays are basically electrically operated switches). To control the water gun, he inserted a small paper contraption in the battery department that allows him to break the gun’s power.

The brains of the operation is a Python script using OpenCV. It compares the current image to the normal background. If the average amount of change of all pixels is above some threshold, it fires the water gun.

Read more in the post here.


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