Computer Controlled Pigeon

Chinese scientists succeeded to attach a chip to the brain of a pigeon which allowed them to remotely control the pigeon movements. The scientists from the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shandong University of Science and Technology in China used hair-thin electrodes which were implanted in the brain of the pigeon in key locations responsible for movement.

The Chinese scientists already successfully implanted similar electrodes in fish, rats, mice and monkeys in research that was driven by military and intelligence interests. This is the first time a bird is being controlled in this way. The scientists reported that they successfully ordered the birds to fly right or left or up or down using a computer and remote control. 

The US navy also hopes to use similar implants to exploit sharks’ ability to sense minute electrical changes left by a vessel as it sail in the vicinity of the shark. IN this way the navy will have a highly sensitive biological sensor which will be very hard for the enemy to detect.

Pigeons have been used in many military related researches in the past. Recently, researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland working with former Swiss army homing pigeons studied the degree orientational cognition plays in pigeon homing capability. The research involved, among other things, attaching GPS trackers to the pigeons (See image above) in order to pinpoint their location and learn how their behavior changes as a result of different changes to their brain.

Image of the remotely controlled Chinese pigeon could be found here.