Researchers have developed a remote-controlled baby penguin robot to observe and analyse the behaviour of penguins in the Antarctic.
Sending in a robot penguin armed with scanning equipment causes far less stress to the actual penguins than they feel when being observed by humans, researchers said.
When approached by a human, a penguin’s heart rate increased by an average of 35 beats per minute – a sign that the creature is stressed.
Therefore, the researchers decided to disguise the robot rover as a baby penguin, ‘The Mirror’ reported.
The penguin rover helped to get close enough to scan the micro-chipped birds.
It took five different versions to create a chick that the penguins were not afraid of. The birds’ stress levels plummeted so much so that the penguins even took the robot baby under their wings.
“Chicks and adults were even heard vocalising at the camouflaged rover, and it was able to infiltrate a creche without disturbance,” said researcher Yvon Le Maho, from the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France.