Magazine article ASEE Prism

Giving the Scarecrow His Brain

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Giving the Scarecrow His Brain

Article excerpt

"INTELLIGENT SCARECROW" sounds like a contradiction of terms. But that's exactly what a team of computer science seniors at the University of South Florida's College of Engineering came up with for a project aimed at helping the state's $40 million aquaculture industry. Fish farming is big business, but stock is often lost to predator birds. And many of the birds are protected species, so they can't be harmed. The team came up with "Erebus," a scarecrow in a USF football jersey whose head is crammed with sensors, cameras and a micro PC. When Erebus detects motion, its cameras kick in, and intruders and nonintruders are distinguished by color-recognition software. The scarecrow also e-mails the farmer (or calls his cell phone) to report the incident. Moreover, it has speakers that blast out sounds of loud gunshots and it hits the birds with a high-speed, but harmless, water cannon. …

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