Robot spies on shy penguins
Robot spies on shy penguins A remote-controlled roving camera camouflaged as a penguin chick in Adelie Land, Antarctica (AP Photo / Frederique Olivier, Downer Productions)
Robot spies on shy penguins
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The newest tool for biologists is the baby penguin robotic spy.

It's pretty darn cute. And it is convincing. Penguins essentially talk to it, as if it is a potential mate for their chicks.

Emperor penguins are notoriously shy. When researchers approach, these penguins normally back away. Their heart rate speeds up. That's not what the scientists need. They want to check heart rate, health and other penguin parameters.

So international scientists and even filmmakers created a remote control rover. It's disguised as a chick. The rover will snuggle up to shy penguins in Adelie Land, Antarctica. That is where the 2005 documentary "March of the Penguins" was filmed.

Researchers watched from more than 650 feet away.

The first disguised version of the rover, made of fiberglass, scared the real birds.

Researchers tried about five versions. Then l they hit upon the right one. It's covered in gray fur. It sports black arms, and has a black-and-white painted face and black beak.

The penguins didn't scamper away. They even sang to it. It sounded like a trumpet. The adult penguins might have been listening for a response. But researchers didn't program the rover to make a sound.

There's a reason scientists want to use rovers. Some researchers worry that just by coming close to some shy animals they change their behavior. That can change the results of their studies.

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Assigned 77 times

  • TomI-Saw
    11/06/2014 - 12:48 p.m.

    I think that is cute and interesting that it is a camera

  • Kylerw4
    11/07/2014 - 09:43 a.m.

    wow you know every should know that when someone dose that it could be dangerous if no one knew that it could kill the penguins :-/

  • michaelhi-Sch
    11/07/2014 - 12:46 p.m.

    The reason why people make robot penguin is because when ever someone. Goes by a penguin they run away so that is why they made a robot penguin.

  • joseg-Kel
    11/07/2014 - 12:51 p.m.

    The story was interesting but I want to know how send the robot to the north pole.

  • haileybr-Bla
    11/09/2014 - 12:20 p.m.

    This article is about scientists trying to get close to the shy Emperor penguins without them waddling away so that way they can study them easier. They do that by making a rover. The scientists tried 5 different versions then they finally found the one that the penguins liked. The rover looks like a real penguin chick except for the fact that it had wheels at the bottom of it instead of flippers. The rover worked on 2 other animals too without a disguise. One of the other animals tried attack the rover if it moved and the other was just fine if the rover moved. At the end they created a penguin chick rover that could communicate to the Emperor penguins so the real penguin chicks wouldn't be sad. That is the summary of the article I read.

  • claudiamercadob1
    11/15/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    It is a beautiful loves sign from cientists and animals because cientists took care of pinguins first and on the other side, pinguins received the rover as one of them.
    Creating robots to make those kind of researches is a great idea since as you could read in this article, penguins didnt back away, even taking this perfectly disguised rover a one of the family. So it was beneficial for those 2 main actors.
    I think it is important to keep on researching and protecting our animals natural environment.

  • John0724-YYCA
    11/17/2014 - 09:39 p.m.

    I think that this is a really smart idea because the scientist developed a new way to see a penguin with out their heart beat going up and backing away. I am even more surprised that the penguins are too dumb to see that the penguin spy is not and actual penguin but a penguin spy robot. Now the scientist have a new and better way of seeing a penguin actually up close. But I just hope that the penguin's lens are good because if not the they are going to be struggling to learn and find out about them.

  • ryan0420-yyca
    11/17/2014 - 09:46 p.m.

    I agree that the penguin is pretty cute. But if the penguins reconized the other penguins how come they didnt
    fall for the other trick? i think the penguins should reconized the penguin because no penguin has motorized wheels on his legs. also i think the penguin should be able to talk also because the penguins might think why the penguin is not replaying back to their langauge.

  • johng-Kel
    11/24/2014 - 11:57 a.m.

    I think it was a good idea to send a robot to study penguins cause penguins are really shy to move away from their parents

  • camdynlST
    12/03/2014 - 09:53 a.m.

    That is really cool! It is good they made this so the penguins won't be scared and worried about people comming and looking at them. I wonder what things people will make next? This is really neat next they should add a voice box or something so the penguin spy robot can speak back and make the penguins feel safe!

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