Craft & Design Energy & Sustainability Science Technology
Train an army of crows to gather treasure for you

Josh Klein developed a machine that trains crows to trade coins for peanuts. Literally, for peanuts. So you fill this thing with peanuts and set it out, say, in a public park, and the crows will scour the ground for loose change, carry it to the machine, and drop it in a slot in exchange for food. The project, dubbed “CrowBox,” made a big splash when he unveiled it back in 2007. Now he’s made the complete plans for the CrowBox freely available online so you can roll your own. And there’s no reason you couldn’t train your fly-monkeys-fly to gather other crow-portable objects. Twenty-dollar bills? Keys? iPods? Human eyes? The possibilities are endless. Set one up at the beach! Train seagulls to trade whole wallets for pre-shucked oysters!


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan