#204: Pigeon Pi/2

Carrier pigeons used to be used as one pretty effective means of long distance communication. One of the problems is that they are really capable only of flying back to a home roost from which they have been displaced. It’s thought they achieve this feat of navigation mostly by using magnetic crystals within their brains as a form of compass.

Today’s invention is a revival of the carrier pigeon messaging service, but with greater control over the outward direction of travel. This approach is based on reprogramming the navigation crystals, by exposing them to a strong magnetic field at some angle to that of the Earth’s, and then taking the poor creatures to an unfamiliar location. They will then fly off in the direction chosen for them, whilst thinking they are heading home.

Bartek_pigeon368.jpg

One possible use for this idea is to use the birds to supply messages to some country in which other forms of communication are heavily censored or jammed.

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