Sandy Sandfort sandfort at
Tue Oct 4 17:02:13 PDT 1994

                         SANDY SANDFORT
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Todd Masco wrote:

    ... there was a variety of smart-bomb developed in WWII
    that used a pigeon as its brain.  The pigeon would be
    trained to peck at a building on a map, and then in the
    falling bomb it would guide the bomb by pecking at a
    clear panel....

I remember seeing a TV documentary that included this technology.
The way it actually worked was that a special steerable bomb had
a camera obscura in its nose.  An image of whatever was below the
falling bomb was rear projected onto a screen made out of frosted
glass.  The screen was somehow rigged so that it could sense
where it was being pecked.  The pigeon was immobilized except for
its head and neck, but it could easily peck any point on the
screen.  They use operant conditioning to train the pigeon to
peck at images of ships at sea.  If the ship was off-center on
the screen, the pigeon's pecking would cause airfoils to correct
the bomb's aim.  Just before the bomb hit, the pigeon would
parachute to safety.  (I made that last part up.)

 S a n d y


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