Using a chicken as a steadicam

This has been circulating around the net for a bit. For those that haven’t seen it, let me just give you a quick rundown of what is happening. This guy strapped a camera to a chicken’s head. No really, that’s it. There’s some interesting science behind it though. He’s taking advantage of the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex in the chicken.  It is basically the reflex that we use to keep our eyes firmly focused on something while our head is moving. In a chicken however, they move their entire head. This means that he can strap a camera to the chicken’s head and have an instant steadicam. At least that is the theory. As you can see in the video after the break, the harder part is getting the chicken to look at what you want it to look at. We also found a conversation about it with the creator,[MrPennywhistle] in some reddit comments.

61 thoughts on “Using a chicken as a steadicam

  1. Question is, what hardware must that chicken be packing to do this? I reckon on at least a couple of three way gyros in its head and a whole bunch of servos in the neck. Maybe some fancy image object tracking by its eyes. Geez that thing must have cost a fortune. :)

  2. Finally! I’ve been wondering what to do with this chicken on my workbench… now I have an idea to work with.

    Maybe a new HackAFarmAnimal.com site will be up soon! lol.

    Yeah, this is great.

  3. OH MY GOD.

    I love this project. My mom has dozens of chickens, I’ll put a few of the extras up on eBay if there are any takers. I’m sure they’d survive FedEx overnight ;)

  4. When I heard they put a camera on a cock I had a WHOLE different idea! Anyway chickens can see in ultraviolet so if you want to get the chicken to focus on somthing why not point a flashing ultraviolet light at it?

  5. “I’m Chicken of Borg, your photons will be assimilated!”.

    By the way, someone please send a dozen of these camera equipped chickens to movie producers, should they insist in using those stupid puke-inducing shaky cameras.

  6. @nes
    Chickens have a three axis gyroscope and a two axis accelerometer in each ear. Humans, too. I noticed this phenomenon back when I raised chickens, but I never thought to strap a camera to its head. I wonder how well it would work with a decent quality camera.

  7. They could have used this for the Blair witch project, but they couldn’t afford the chicken.

    P.S the chicken has now joined the International Cinematographers Guild and must be paid prevailing wage not chicken feed.

  8. @Rachel: Actually the webcam units built into laptop screens are pretty tiny and lightweight and usually give you around 1.3M pixels – enough for an HD movie, albeit fixed focus and lowish sensitivity. It would probably work ok outside.

    The interface is HiSpeed USB2.0, so you’d need to strap a tiny PC to the chicken’s back to make it work though or find a really big chicken or an ostrich.

  9. @Drake
    Sorry, pal. I’m pretty sure that they carefully remove the accelerometers and gyros when they do the chicken -> nugget conversion.

  10. @Charper “I love how at around 1:50 the chicken keeps eyeing the microwave… It’s like he knows.”

    Ha!

    Congrats, you win my innernets award for the day :)

  11. @nes,
    You’re right about laptop built in webcams being lightweight, but at their best they can provide 1280×1024, which is insufficient for HD quality, not mentioning poor optics.

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