Digitally Mediated Interactions for Parrots

During our first-year thesis project at Malmö University, one of my classmates, Inge van Hoppe, explored the possibilities of playful digitally mediated interactions for her parrot Mango. Her project, called Interactive Playground for Parrots, is based on the need for environment enrichment of parrots that live in captivity. She made use of a touchscreen as technological input and developed different prototypes that were tested with Mango on a voluntary basis.

One of the first technologically mediated interactions for animals started in the 1930s, when B.F. Skinner conducted experiments using operant conditioning methodologies, among which the training of pigeons to peck at a target inside the nose of a missile in order to steer it in the desired direction. Since then, bird were mostly included in technology that helps us to understand their behaviour (such as migration tracking, or life streams for bird watching).

Next to Joshua Klein’s vending machine for crows, Inge’s project is one of the first technically mediated research projects that includes the animal in the interactions. Next to this, she included the animal in the design process and aimed to explore digital technology that increases the life quality of an animal in captivity. More information about her project can be found on her website.



I created this blog to provide you, the (hopefully) interested reader, with more insights on the research project I’m working on in the area of technologically mediated animal interaction. More information about me, Michelle Westerlaken, as well as more information about the research topic that captured my interest can be found in the menu on top of this page.

On this blog I’d like to share existing projects, theories, and any other relevant or inspiring information and thereby create a collection of interesting material that is, according to me, worth sharing.

My purpose is to continue research in the area of digitally mediated animal interaction. If you have any advice, contacts, or opportunities that could be interesting for me, please contact me via email or follow me on Twitter (@colombinary).