Pigeon Telemetric System, 1965-70
Artifact no. 1985.0563
Canada Science and Technology Museum

Publication/Creation Date
National Research Council Of Canada (NRCC) (creator)
Media Type
Graphical Image
Persuasive Intent
Discursive Type
If contemporary biometric technology is defined by its ability to collect information about a body’s biological functioning, and transmit this information to a central location for collection and analysis, then this telemetric system can be regarded as a pioneer in the field. Developed in the 1960s by scientists at the National Research Council of Canada, it was used to study a pigeon’s heart rate, wing movement, and breathing during flight. Pictured here is the telemetric “backpack” that collected information from three leads: one connected to the pigeon’s heart (internally), a second connected to a clip on the pigeon’s wing (not shown), and a third connected to a breathing mask over the pigeon’s beak (not shown). The backpack then transmitted this data wirelessly, via two radio carrier signals, which could be analyzed in real-time by researchers on the ground.

Made in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
HCI Platform
Relation to Body
Related Body Part
Back, Head, Mouth, Heart
Technology Keywords
Telemetry, Radio Transmitter

Related Collections
The Wearable Past (2018)
Date archived
March 28 2018
Last edited
July 5 2021
How to cite this entry
National Research Council of Canada (NRCC). (1965). "Pigeon Telemetric System, 1965-70
Artifact no. 1985.0563
Canada Science and Technology Museum". Canada Science and Technology Museum. Fabric of Digital Life. https://fabricofdigitallife.com/Detail/objects/2888