TED talk: Joshua Klein's vending machine for crows

Joshua Klein's TED presentation about how he taught crows to drop coins into a peanut vending machine of his own design was my favorite talk at the conference.

Hacker and writer Joshua Klein is fascinated by crows. (Notice the gleam of intelligence in their little black eyes?) After a long amateur study of corvid behavior, he's come up with an elegant machine that may form a new bond between animal and human.

Joshua Klein will hack anything that moves — his list includes "social systems, computer networks, institutions, consumer hardware and animal behavior." His latest project, though charmingly low-tech, has amazing implications for the human-animal interface.

Right now, Klein is working at Frog Design as a Principle Technologist, while developing mobile/social applications, health care-related systems and other tools that improve people's lives. He's the author of the novel Roo'd, which was the first modern book (after Tarzan) to be ported to the iPhone.

"Klein envisions a new symbiotic relationship between these intelligent birds and the humans that encroach on their habitat. … Why not turn a longstanding rivalry between man and crow into something that profits both species?"