Professor Rebecca Brown of the University of Rhode Island has developed a low-cost laser system to scare birds away from corn fields. According to her, this is a logical development of the idea, because the old scarecrows have long lost their relevance. So did later inventions like propane cannons, brightly colored balloons, chemicals, robotic shotguns, and movable inflatable stuffed animals.
The use of lasers for fighting birds began 20 years ago, but the existing systems are cumbersome, expensive and unsuitable for work in an open field, in the rain and among mud. Professor Brown took advantage of the fact that low-power green LED lasers have become much cheaper today, and assembled a simple design from a bucket with an emitter and a battery. It costs roughly $ 500 versus the $ 10, 000 asking for commercial versions of such systems, so a number of Rhode Island farmers took part in the trials with pleasure.
“We believe that birds mistake a bright green beam for something solid and therefore dangerous to them, ” explains the professor. Therefore, the beam must move to make the birds avoid it, the stationary laser does not scare them. The LED system emits beams up to 190 meters, and they glide over the very tops of the corn. This forces the birds to move to adjacent fields and does not interfere with anyone near the field, plus such a system can simply be calibrated as crops grow by raising the bucket on the pole higher or lower.
After three years of testing, Brown became convinced of the effectiveness of her development. The only bottleneck is that the batteries need to be changed constantly, so she is now working to connect the laser to the solar panels without interfering with the crops themselves.