Sunday, February 24, 2013

A sneak peak of the 'Penguin Cam' robot infiltrates colony of birds

From BBC

If you think there's something a little fishy about one of the penguins in the picture below, you're not wrong.
Because the bird on the right isn't a real penguin at all, but a hi-tech robot with camera lenses hidden in its eyes.
Award-winning filmmaker John Downer used 'Penguin-cams' to infiltrate colonies of Rockhoppper and Emperor penguins in Antarctica -- and obtain stunning shots of never-before-seen behaviour.

Despite drawing a few quizzical looks, the so-called 'Penguin-cam', which has camera lenses in its eyes, was able to waddle in and mingle with the real birds.
It was also used to 'lay' an 'Egg-cam', which successfully captured charming images of a six-week-old chick peering into it through natural curiosity.

Mr Downer used an array of 50 spy cameras, the most advanced of which cost up to £100,000, to film penguins in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and Peru.

They included an 'Egg-cam', an underwater 'Penguin-cam' and a 'Toboggan-cam', a full-sized Emperor model which can join a group of real birds by slithering in on its stomach -- in fact a motorised sledge.
Mr Downer said: 'We also employed an underwater 'Penguin-cam' so that we could follow these amazing creatures in their mission to find a safe place to nest and raise the chicks.
'In Antarctica, the emperors brave treacherous sea ice and a trek across the ice of up to 100 miles before huddling together to survive 90mph winter blizzards. We were with them all the way.
'In some of the most moving scenes, we filmed the plight of females who had failed to find a mate or had lost their eggs.

'We witnessed single females doing their best to break up couples by physically disrupting them during mating. Later, alone and without young of their own, they would resort to chick-napping.
'We also recorded evidence of the devotion of penguin pairs who had matched and mated. And extraordinary close-ups that showed how emperor mothers flick their tail feathers to catch the newly laid egg and stop it touching the snow.'

A chance to see amazing images from deep inside the frozen seas of Antarcica.
BBC natural history masterpiece Planet Earth charts the gruelling and heroic winter life of the emperor penguin in almost impossibly cold temperatures.

Links :
  • National Geographic : Paul Nicklen: Emperors of the Ice (Wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen dives beneath the Antarctic ice to capture the "bubbly" emperor penguins in action, and risks being mistaken for his subjects by some very hungry predators.)
  • National Geographic : Emperor Penguins Speed Launch Out of the Water (Photographer Paul Nicklen captures unique video of emperor penguins soaring through the sea and launching their bodies out of the water onto the ice. Scientists have discovered the secret of their speed — bubbles.)

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