Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Then imitate the action of the pigeon

Let slip the birds of war
Cyberneticzoo looks at the ultimate in doomsday weaponry:  The pigeon bomb.


Sergej said...

Um..., these pigeon bites I had on Crispin's day?

Cthel said...

I must confess, this system always struck me as a triumph of ingenuity over "common sense", and I mean that in a good way. Rather like the "bat bomb" program, it's a prime example of how valuable an unusual viewpoint on a problem can be.

Not that the unusual solution is always a good idea, but it generally points you down an line of thought you would never have embarked upon otherwise.

In this case, I think the important innovation is the idea of redundancy in the guidance system - in this case, using 3 pigeons and averaging out their inputs. Sounds remarkably similar to the way the shuttle's fly-by-wire system uses multiple computers running the same software to generate control commands.

eon said...


Absolutely true. Of course, the ORCON system probably had its own version of "software conflicts", since a major problem would be training the pigeons not to peck each other; they get irritable when confined in a harness.

And of course, the small problem of dealing with the pigeons', err, "exhaust products" in the guidance package.