Researchers and film makers are using an adorable roving robot to spy on emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica. University of Strasbourg scientists fitted the four-wheeled rover with a baby penguin costume and will soon be equipped with sensors to gather data about the notoriously shy birds. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: Meet chick-cam - the latest tool in penguin research. Emperor penguins don't like strangers, so gathering data about their health and behavioural patterns is extremely difficult. That's where chick-cam comes in, it's innocent fluffy cuteness is designed to fool the colony into believing its just another adorable baby penguin - when in fact it's a robotic spy -- infiltrating the colony to gather information. According to the scientists, chick-cam can get close to penguins without altering their behaviour, a feat that human researchers haven't been able to accomplish. Currently, the baby robot is only equipped with a camera, but there are plans to add sensors that will allow the researchers to read data off radio tags and monitor a penguins vital signs autonomously, ....giving scientists an unprecedented look at one of the world's shyest creatures.