"When it comes to
innovation, this one took some beating...."
Barry Davies, BBC Technogames
the gymnastic duck.
|Cold Thursday is one of the species of Cold Ducks (duckus
coritzchillyere) evolved over millennia to withstand the
boredom of the Cambridgeshire fens by continually running around on ice
floes, a feat requiring great ducksterity and balance.
CT's particular ducksterity and balance, well recognised in the duck community, led to her selection as the duckathlete to compete in the gymnastic event of BBC's Technogames 2002.
She was trained by the Rolph team of Cambridge, UK, in the beam exercise.
9 for Innovation,
9 for Ingenuity, and
8 for Artistic Interpretation.
Characteristics of the Duckus include thick fur and forward placed eyes to check the edge of the ice before it’s too late to stop. The origin of the different coloured eyes remains a mystery.
A particular peculiarity of the species are the rotationally jointed feet. These have even been mistaken for wheels by dim-witted duckwatchers!
Antennae are used to communicate with others of the species. Their height of approximately 18 inches is enough to signal for several miles in their natural fenland habitat.
An early stage of the evolution of duckus coritzchillyere was as a rope climbing creature. This failed on two counts, one the absence of trees in the fens to tie ropes to for practice, the other, the inability to even hold on to the rope at the minimum technogames weight of a kilogram. This species hung around in the darker corners of the fens, forlornly looking for trees, until eventually sprouting legs and antennae.
Feeding and Training
Being a carbosilicon lifeform (carbon based body, silicon based brain) these ducks body-build on a diet of polycarbonate vegetables known as legomes (from the French legumes).
Education and training is by the NQC method.
Cheltenham Robots Arena in 2002.
CT's Technogames routine is a dance on a raised beam. The black line down the centre of the 12" beam is sensed by a light sensor underneath and used to keep track of where she is on the beam. Various moves are performed using CT's precise timing to keep in time with the music. The antennae operate entirely independently with their own routine to the music.
The routine is slightly different every tiime because it depends on the exact sequence of moves and where they happen to occur on the beam, and as the starting position and speed is always going to be slightly different each time you can never be sure what she'll do this time. Just occasionally, like all highly tuned athletes, she falls off.
The technogames 2002 performance music is "Eb Reels" (as in E-flat) by the band Flook . It's available on their album Flatfish.