A number of years ago, a hardware designer named Kyle Buzzard watched a viral video of a seagull that had stolen a GoPro and brought photos of itself looking into the camera.
“That began wonder and the questions, how can we try this and automate it?” recalls Buzzard, who incidentally has the proper name for his avian interests.
Buzzard and his associates envisioned an AI-powered smart bird feeder that might discover and snap photos of 1000 species of birds that may visit your backyard.
But there have been two immediate hurdles that they had to beat.
“First, to attempt to rise up close and private high-quality images of birds without disturbing them,” explains Buzzard. “Second, to give you the chance to acknowledge the species easily. Each are very difficult to do and have the bird remain in place long enough. How over and over have you ever reached to your camera or bird book just for the feathered friend to have flown off?”
Buzzard’s design pedigree helped them accomplish their goals.
Bird Buddy launched its first Kickstarter in November 2020, raising $5 million, which in line with the corporate, put them in the highest 1% of all Kickstarter campaigns and was the most-funded campaign in Kickstarter’s gadget category.
The result was an ingenious bird feeder that’s type of PokemonGo meets the Ring.
How it really works: A feathered friend flies to the feeder, and an AI-powered camera notifies you, identifies the species, takes photos, and organizes them into a set.
Related: People Keep Licking a Rare Toad in U.S. National Parks. The Reason Is a Real Trip.
Buzzard hopes the device helps people connect back to nature. “Unfortunately, a lot of us have developed a passive relationship with the natural world,” he says. With technology capturing most of our attention, we fail to look up and see the wonder surrounding us. He hopes Bird Buddy will help solve that by putting the natural world within the palm of your hands.
“We desired to allow nature to have its likelihood in our digital lives,” Buzzard says.
For a fun take a look at the most effective photos captured by Bird Buddy users, take a look at the my bird buddy portal.