The Crested Barbet

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The Crested Barbet


Designer/artist: Ralph Borland, Cape Town / Harare

Year: 2017

Description: This bird bot prototype is a mechanical Crested Barbet, imitating a common urban bird in Cape Town. Running on a Nokia phone battery, it incorporates a sound-synthesizer whose pitch depends on light exposure, glowing LED eyes, and head and wing movement via a hacked motor.

About the designer: African Robots is an art and technology project based in South Africa which creates interactive electronic street art - ‘street art’ here means art sold by local craftsmen in South Africa and Zimbabwe, using inexpensive materials like electrical wire, beads and waste wood. African Robots lead by artist Ralph Borland works with artisans, sharing skills to to catalyse innovation. www.africanrobots.net

Image credit: Ralph Borland 2017