Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sometimes the Bird Really is a Spy

Over the past few years there have been a flock of spy stories about birds, the latest being a stork in Egypt. He was interrogated and let go, only to be found dead two days later. "...a wildlife organization claiming that it was 'eaten by local villagers.'" (more)

This story is different. Some birds do spy.

The John Downer Productions team created a set of highly realistic robotic penguins to spy on living birds for a recent BBC documentary. Some penguins are timid around humans, and may flee when a normal camera team approaches. So, these robots allow scientists and filmmakers to get up close with the colony and capture intimate details of day to day life in a penguin colony. 

The robots are more than simple spycams. They can:
• Remember the identities of individual penguins based on their patterns of spots.
• Get blown over and right themselves.
• Fall off a ledge without breaking.
• And even carry “egg-cams” to drop off at strategic locations (more)